Eaters can soon flock to the newest hatchling from the team behind Juniper & Ivy, including owner Mike Rosen, chef/partner Richard Blais and executive chef Jon Sloan. Their first foray into North County is scheduled to open early next week and is the second edition of The Crack Shack, the group’s fast-casual phenomenon built around fried chicken and egg-centric dishes.
Nestled into a busy Encinitas corner, the 6,000-square-foot restaurant isn’t quite as open-air as its Little Italy predecessor, but the indoor/outdoor space is appealingly breezy and the retractable roof ensures comfortable year-round dining. Bluemotif Architecture returns with its signature design elements, including communal tables. the bocce ball court (that can also be used for cornhole and mini-golf) and, of course, the oversized chicken statue. New elements include a chicken-themed American Gothic mural, a kid-friendly sandbox and chalkboard wall, an outdoor fire pit, and a semi-private room with a fireplace and multiple large screen TVs.
Running the kitchen is chef Andrew Schrader, where the menu is still anchored by its top-notch fried chicken and chicken-based sandwiches; more recent additions include a refreshed kale salad and the mash-up of matzo ball soup and pozole. Also new is a tap system featuring The Crack Shack’s signature sauces, an espresso bar powered by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and a separate walk-up window that will expedite to-go orders. The fast-casual eatery also features a full bar, with a craft cocktail program created by bar manager Eric Johnson and 32 taps of local craft beer and wine.