Carnitas’ Snack Shack at the Embarcadero is the second location for the King and Queen of Pork, and self-proclaimed “rebels with a cause,” Chef Hanis Cavin, Sara Stroud, and their pet pig, aptly named Carnitas. Affectionately referred to as simply the “Snack Shack,” they are proud to serve their customers thoughtfully-sourced, pork-centric American dishes in an entirely outdoor, no-fuss environment.
Open since the spring of 2016, Carnitas’ offers you incredible panoramic views of the San Diego Harbor while you enjoy menu items such as their pork belly sliders and signature beverages from their full bar. It’s the ideal eatery for people from all walks of life and party sizes whether you want to enjoy a simple meal alone people-watching, or plan to catch up with a group of old friends.
Snack Shack’s Motto, “PIGS at Heart” is symbolic of their philosophy: Passionate about their cause. Indulgent in life and the food they serve. Generous with their community. Supportive to their friends, family, and coworkers.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack Ambiance
Situated in front of the B Street Pier, the Snack Shack is a nearly 9,900-square-foot restaurant designed by project architect JWDA and California artist Pae White. They were commissioned to create a collection of shaded pavilions including Carnitas’ location, each featuring a colorful structure and patterned roof that casts shadowed words on the floors beneath them. This open-air restaurant features a communal dining space and two large, beautifully landscaped public areas featuring a collection of tables and sitting benches. They also have a granite-topped 28-seat outdoor bar and separate walk-up window for ordering sodas, coffee, wine, and beer, as well as soft-serve ice cream with a variety of delectable toppings.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack Food
Award winning chef, Hanis Cavin is the brains behind the American-style, farm-fresh food served at the Snack Shack. With a focus on pork, Hanis created a simple menu of daily entrees to be expertly paired with his delicious and unique sides. Their “Daily’s” include items like the carnitas queso fries, pork belly sliders, Snack Shack burger, Snack Shack steak sandwich, and a pork belly entrée served with mixed greens, warm cheddar, and a jalapeño muffin. They also offer a few vegetarian and seafood inspired dishes such as their cauliflower tacos and fish tacos made with blackened and grilled Mahi Mahi and topped with red cabbage, guacamole, Serrano chiles, crema, and pico de gallo.
All meals can be paired with one of four sides: seasoned fries with bacon ketchup, a mixed green salad, snack chicharrons, or Snack Shack chips and guacamole. The Snack Shack also offers one kids’ combo – a choice of hamburger, pork, or chicken fingers, and includes fries and a fountain drink. To top it all off, they have a small dessert menu featuring soft-serve ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip brownies, and seasonal dessert bars.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack Details
An outdoor oasis, this restaurant is perfect for families with children and groups. They encourage you to bring your furry friends with you too. Carnitas’ Snack Shack doesn’t accept reservations. It’s a first come, first served establishment, and they don’t have wait staff. This casual restaurant provides gender neutral restrooms, free Wi-Fi, and TVs. There is bike parking, but only paid street parking for cars.
Carnitas’ Shack Shack offers “Daily Deals” such as Taco Tuesday and Mimosas & Brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Happy Hour is available Monday through Friday.
You can book part of the restaurant, or buyout the whole place for events. They can accommodate anywhere between 10 and 600 guests, provide live music, and create completely customizable menus with full-bar or craft beer and wine selections. Catering services are also available off-site, but orders must be made at least 24-hours in advance. Chef Hanis Cavin is available for cooking demonstrations, speaking engagements, and appearances. The Snack Shack hosts their own events throughout the year, so check their website for updates.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack has four locations in three neighborhoods. The original is located in North Park, Embarcadero was the second location opened, and there are two new Petco Park locations.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack Neighborhood
The Embarcadero is located in the Marina District along San Diego Bay. This neighborhood is a testament to the area’s maritime history featuring historic ships, harbor tours, and museums. It is also home to a cruise ship terminal and a working fishing harbor, as well as various restaurants, hotels, and boutique-style shops. Top attractions include the USS Midway Museum and the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Nearby San Diego County Waterfront Park is an excellent locale for picnics on the grassy lawn, and the perfect place for kids to burn off a little extra energy with its modern creative playground and cool, interactive splash fountains. Many of San Diego’s most prominent events are also held in this neighborhood, including the three-day San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration, and everyone’s holiday favorite – San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.