In 2011, Chef Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud opened Carnitas’ Snack Shack, their first joint venture, in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. The “SnackShack,” as it’s affectionately called, serves slow food-inspired, pork-centric American cuisine, snacks and locally sourced craft beers. Over the years Hanis and Sara (and Carnitas!) have earned the respect of their colleagues through hard work, creativity, and dedication to their community. Each year, they participate in many charity and outreach programs, educational field trips to local farms like Olivewood Gardens, school programs and food events such as Chef Celebration, the Emilio Nares Foundation, the Front Burner Fund for restaurant employees, San Diego Center for Children, Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego Food Bank and California Restaurant Association Mentoring Program. In 2013, they helped raise $100,000 for local San Diego charities!
About Chef Hanis Cavin
Born and raised in San Diego, Hanis Cavin is known locally for his culinary talents. Early on, Hanis’ home economics teacher told him that he had a talent that should not be wasted. Inspired by his teacher’s advice, Hanis attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. After college, Hanis began to polish his skills at the American Seasons Restaurant in Nantucket. But his love for San Diego — and warm weather — brought him back to the West Coast, where he began working as Executive Chef at Triangles, located in University Towne Centre.
In 1996, Hanis became the Chef de Cuisine at Mixx in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. His love for Pacific Cuisine began to flourish in 1998, when he went to Pacifica Del Mar restaurant. In 1999, Hanis began working for Kensington Grill and played a major part in the opening its sister restaurant Chive in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego. In 2000, Hanis moved on to become the Executive Chef at Dakota Grill, also in the Gaslamp District. Missing his passion to cook Pacific Cuisine, he landed at Pacific Coast Grill. Hanis later rejoined the Urban Kitchen Group’s Kensington Grill in 2007 and subsequently earned the honorable award of Chef of the Year, 2009 from the California Restaurant Association. Recently, he was inducted into the San Diego Home/Garden Chef’s Hall of Fame.
About Sara Stroud
Sara grew up Illinois, and has worked in the restaurant industry since age 15. Working at a small Washington DC batch bourbon/cigar bar in 1999, she decided to move out West to San Diego.
Since then, she has worked for the Cohn Restaurant group, managing Kensington Grill and Cucina Urbana restaurants, and recently managed Wine Steals.
Stroud co-owns Chinois San Diego — a restaurant development and consulting firm — with chef Hanis Cavin. Their first project being Carnitas’ Snack Shack, North Park.
About Carnitas the Pig
Carnitas Speck is Hanis and Sara’s pet mini pig, and the inspiration for their new restaurant. He first gained notoriety as a mere piglet when adorably cute videos of him were posted on YouTube. Within weeks, Carnitas’ videos went viral and gained nearly 1 million views in total!
Carnitas the Vegan Pig likes long walks, veggies and craft beer.
Follow him on Facebook if you’d like.