Eater Inside : Carnitas' Snack Shack Unwraps North County Porkhouse

Candice Woo
Eater San Diego


[Photos: Mike Newton]

If anything's a sure thing in San Diego, it would probably be another outpost of the wildly popular Carnitas' Snack Shack, which unveils its second location of its porkhouse this Thursday at 3 p.m.

When chef/owner Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud opened their first spot, they had doubts about the viability of a pork-centric menu. But the proof is in the pork, and in the ever-present lines at their original North Park location.

North County will undoubtedly throng to this new eatery, which will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center.

Put together in collaboration with Hatch Design Group, the 2,200-square-foot space has 93 seats and features a patio herb garden from Urban Plantations, a striking wood pig wall, a mural of painted pigs done by local artist Jesus Montes and custom made pork-themed wallpaper in the restrooms; the mens is inspired by one of Cavin's tattoos while the womens is decorated with roses fashioned from bacon and pig parts.

In addition to their signature Triple Threat pork sandwich, carnitas tacos and pork belly starter, the beloved pork burger, an occasional special in North Park, will be a permanent menu item here. But there are also new lighter items, including a seared ahi Nicoise-inspired salad with olive vinaigrette, a seasonal chopped market salad with local produce and an artichoke-zucchini sandwich; Eric Duell, formerly of Brabant Bar & Cafe, is chef de cuisine. Desserts include bacon-whiskey truffles from Andrea's Truffles and concoctions from pastry chef Daniela Martinez that include a chocolate roulade with salted caramel buttercream that's coated in candied bacon and a house made donut-of-the-month. Beverages include six taps of craft beer, wine and a gluten-free, cane sugar soda fountain.

This joint venture with investment firm Sweet 100 is just the first step in what will undoubtedly become a empire built on pork; the group will next turn its attention to a third location that's due on the San Diego waterfront by Spring 2015.
· Carnitas' Snack Shack [Official Site]
· All Eater Inside Coverage [~ESD~]