Carnitas’ Snack Shack – Seen in Urbanist Guide
May 10, 2012
Carnitas’ Snack Shack North Park Restaurant in San Diego was recently reviewed in Urbanist Guide!
Urban Dish: Carnitas’ Is More Than a Snack Shack
By Dayna Crozier
As you pass Carnitas’ Snack Shack while driving down University in North Park, you may ask yourself, “What is this little place?” But you keep driving (you probably passed it before you actually noticed it), though the line of hungry people outside subtly tells you that you really should have stopped. Well, you should stop, turn around and go back. Or firmly plan to make it your next dinner destination. This so-called “snack shack” is not one of the many take-out Mexican spots in the area (as the name might suggest), but surprisingly, and randomly, all well-crafted, farm-to-table comfort goodness. Or farm-to-bag-to-table, depending on whether you take it home, or sit outside in Carnitas’ also unexpected, minimal, mid-century-style seating pavilion that Dwell would love, tucked away into the side of the building, complete with horizontal wooden slats, recessed can lights and patio heaters.
Chef Hanis Cavin (who had worked at Kensington Grill and helped open Chive) and Sara Stroud (who previously managed Kensington Grill, Cucina Urbana and Wine Steals) opened Carnitas’ together just last December. The place is named after and inspired by their adorable pet mini pig, Carnitas Speck, who happens to enjoy a bit of YouTube stardom. And with such a name attached to its mascot, of course Carnitas’ Snack Shack features tons of humanely raised pork on the menu, which changes daily.
Carnitas’ only uses seasonal ingredients, and about sourcing their meat, Stroud explains, “We do source locally for everything but our meat. There is little to no local pork sourcing and it would be hard for one small farm to cover our demand. We use a coop of small farms from Colorado for our pork. It’s all natural and humanely treated (just like our pet, Carnitas.)”
Stroud also told us about why they chose to go a non-traditional route with their “Snack Shack” as opposed to a typical restaurant space. “We picked our location primarily because it’s the neighborhood we live in, and we wanted to give our area more options for late night dining,” she explains. “We decided on a smaller space because we wanted to create the ‘shack’ feeling and since we were financing ourselves, we opted for less overhead than a traditional sit-down place.”