Chef Mike Lanham’s restaurant, Anomaly SF, lives up to its name in the San Francisco culinary scene. While most restaurants focus on a la carte dining, Lanham opened a tasting menu spot, combining modernist techniques with naturalistic cooking. What makes Anomaly SF even more remarkable is that it was launched without the backing of deep-pocketed investors; instead, Lanham turned to a Kickstarter campaign that raised $40,521, mainly from loyal pop-up regulars, friends, and family.
The 1,900-square-foot space is a product of community effort, not corporate backing. Lanham and his team took a hands-on approach, personally constructing many DIY finishes and design elements in the restaurant. The 34-seat space offers an 11-course tasting menu, showcasing inventive textures and flavors through highly technical, “post-modern” preparations. Lanham’s culinary background includes experience at Michelin-starred restaurants, and his vision for Anomaly SF is to create a joyful dining experience with unique presentations of familiar ingredients.
Beyond the accolades and recognition, Lanham’s focus remains on building a positive, respectful culture within the restaurant. He believes that treating his staff well is the secret sauce for a successful establishment. With a small staff of about nine to ten members, including the dishwasher, the restaurant fosters a close-knit and interactive environment. Although Anomaly SF didn’t receive a Michelin star this year, Lanham continues to strive for recognition and hopes that diners who experience the restaurant will recognize its special qualities. Despite the challenges, Lanham’s passion for creativity and providing exceptional dining experiences drives the success of Anomaly SF.