It's been almost two years since Carnitas' Snack Shack first announced that it would open its third location on San Diego Bay; in 2014 the popular local eatery was selected by the San Diego Unified Port District to be a part of its North Embarcadero Visionary Plan to redevelop the waterfront, a multi-million dollar plan which also includes a new food and drink complex at the site of Anthony's Fish Grotto.
Carnitas' Shack Shack Embarcadero, which sit in front of the B Street pier, is part of a collection of shaded pavilions designed by California artist Pae White and project architect JWDA which features colorful glass structures and a roof patterned with words that throw text shadows onto the floor below.
Eater has exciting news — you will be able to sink your teeth into a Triple Threat sandwich while gazing at the bay by next month; co-owner Sara Stroud tells us that they should open by mid-May.
Here are 10 vital things to know about Carnitas' Snack Shack on the waterfront.
1. It has a bar! A granite-topped, 28-seat outdoor bar will showcase Carnitas' first foray into cocktails, overseen by bar manager Mai Pham (Prepkitchen).
2. Pham says the cocktails will have a day-drinking lean; the 14-drink list includes four classics and 10 lighter, shaken cocktails featuring local spirits. There will also be 5 draft beers, 4 wines on tap and canned beer.
4. Executive chef/owner Hanis Cavin says the entire CSS menu will be offered here, in addition to a new seared fish taco and rotating desserts by pastry chef Rachel King. Food will be ordered at two walk-up windows and delivered to your seat.
5. Operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. The early weekend hours are for a new breakfast program, which includes a breakfast burrito stuffed with pork belly, tater tots, eggs, cheese and all the trimmings.
6. A separate walk-up window will be for ordering beverages, from the aforementioned beer and wine to coffee from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. It will also dispense soft-serve ice cream, available with a variety of unique toppings.
7. All the seating will be outdoors. Carnitas' Shack Shack will have its own communal dining space that will hold 50 people, but the two large landscaped public areas that flank the eatery will also be accessible for all food and drink service.
8. A few steps away, a viewing deck perched above the bay will have even more extra seating, though it's not permitted for alcohol consumption .
9. Expect occasional live music to be hosted in the outdoor areas.
10. There are metered parking spaces and pay lots, but locals will be able to easily access the eatery with public transportation via trolleys at the nearby Santa Fe station or bus #992 that pulls up right to the restaurant.