Carnitas' Snack Shack Chef To Open East County BBQ Restaurant | The Pioneer Is Coming To San Diego

April 4, 2018

Heading into the former McCarter's Bar & Grill space in the San Carlos area of San Diego's East County is The Pioneer, a barbecue-focused bar and restaurant from the founding chef behind Carnitas' Snack Shack.

Husband-and-wife partners Chef Hanis Cavin & Sara Stroud founded the Carnitas' Snack Shack brand with the opening of their flagship restaurant on the outskirts of San Diego's North Park neighborhood in 2011, and the walk-up eatery became an instant hit with its menu of pork-centric dishes. A second location of the popular pork paradise was opened in Del Mar in August 2014 but shuttered in late 2016. An al-fresco Carnitas' Snack Shack location premiered waterfront at San Diego's Embarcadero in Spring 2016, and Snack Shack expanded to Petco Park in 2017 where it now has two locations in left field.

In 2014, along with longtime friend and colleague Chef Ivan Munoz - who is currently manning the smoker at The Deck at Moonshine Flats in downtown San Diego - Hanis debuted The Smokehouse Kings roving line of barbecue trailers as a traveling San Diego event and catering vendor. Hanis will take his BBQ prowess to the next level with the impending opening of The Pioneer, which will be a full-service, chef-driven barbecue restaurant and neighborhood bar operated in conjunction with Chef Willie DePascale, who currently works at San Diego's Moceri Produce.

At The Pioneer, expect a menu centered around "barbecue, burgers and brews" with low-and-slow smoked meats like chicken, pork, ribs, seafood, in addition to a list of burgers, sides and entrees and a full bar with craft cocktails and plenty of taps devoted to San Diego beers. The 4,600 square foot standalone building is expected to undergo a renovation in the coming month. Details on the concept are still developing and the restaurant is not expected to open until late Summer 2018 at the earliest. 

Chef Hanis has also been working on a consulting basis with Grain & Grit Collective, a newly formed company that has ownership interest in Carnitas' Snack Shack, on developing the Little Italy Food Hall, which due to the close business relationship we speculate may house a mini-outpost of Carnitas' Snack Shack (although this has not been confirmed and is being denied at this time). The Little Italy Food Hall is anticipated to debut by this Summer. 

The Pioneer will be located at 8622 Lake Murray Boulevard in the San Carlos area of East San Diego County. For more information, visit