Carnitas' Snack Shack Founder Returns To San Diego With Executive Chef Role At Incoming GP Diner

July 4, 2022

The founder of Carnitas Snack Shack has returned to San Diego after a stint in the Pacific Northwest and has taken the executive chef role at North County's incoming GP Diner.

Chef Hanis Cavin is a San Diego native and classically trained chef that earned his culinary degree at the New England Culinary Institute. He founded the Carnitas' Snack Shack brand with the opening of the first restaurant on the outskirts of San Diego's North Park neighborhood in 2011, which became an instant hit with its menu of pork-centric dishes. Along with partners Sweet100, a local private equity firm led by Mike DiNorscia, the team brought a Carnitas' Snack Shack location to San Diego's waterfront Embarcadero in Spring 2016. Snack Shack also expanded to Petco Park in 2017 where it has two locations in left field.

In 2018, Cavin teamed up with Chef Willie DePascale and Cohn Restaurant Group founder David Cohn for the opening of The Pioneer, a barbecue-focused bar and restaurant in San Diego's East County. Carnitas' Snack Shack's original North Park restaurant closed in January 2019 and was rebranded into a short-lived concept called The Porchetta Shack. In May 2020, Chef Hanis moved to Spokane, WA, where he joined forces with another longtime San Diego chef, Chad White, who left in 2015 not long after his debut on Season 13 of Top Chef. Hanis was the corporate chef to Chad's growing restaurant collective, which included two locations of High Tide Lobster, Zona Blanca Ceviche, and TTs Old Iron Brewery & Barbecue. Chef Hanis allegedly continues to have ownership interests in Carnitas' Snack Shack and The Friendly Tavern, which moved into the space where his original Carnitas' Snack Shack location sat in North Park. 

It was announced today that Chef Hanis is the Executive Chef for Buona Forchetta's incoming GP Diner, a Roman-style pizzeria, gelateria and drive-through diner opening later this month in Encinitas. In addition to overseeing GP Diner's menu of American diner classics with Italian flair, Chef Hanis will oversee Buona Forchetta new projects, including South Park's incoming Texas-style barbecue restaurant Carbón, which is expected to open by summer's end.

GP Diner is anticipated to open in mid-July at 608 South Coast Highway 101 in San Diego's North County community of Encinitas. For more information, follow GP Diner on Instagram.