San Diego’s undisputed “king of pork”, Carnitas’ Snack Shack founder/executive chef Hanis Cavin, will expand his realm of meat with a new barbecue restaurant that will feed the East County community of San Carlos; due to launch at the end of the month, The Pioneer will replace neighborhood sports bar McCarter’s Bar & Grill.
Cavin, along with partner/chef Willie DePasquale (Moceri Produce) are temporarily running the existing bar and eatery with a limited menu and hours but just broke ground on a mostly-cosmetic refresh of the space, with Philippe Beltran (BO-beau kitchen + caché, Draft Republic) spearheading a design that features lots of old world elements, including one-of-a-kind vintage items from pioneer days.
The Pioneer’s kitchen, fueled by a Southern Pride smoker, will cook up fresh batches of traditional brisket, ribs, and chicken every day. Ivan Munoz, Cavin’s longtime chef collaborator who currently oversees the barbecue-based offerings at The Deck at Moonshine Flats, is on board as a consultant. The smoked meat will also make its way into appetizers ranging from brisket flautas to rib croquettes, with over-the-top burgers rounding out the menu. The bar’s 14 taps will be a mix of macro and craft beer, and the cocktail program will feature accessibly-priced $10 craft cocktails.
Cavin has other projects on his plate, including adding cocktails and a new bar to the original North Park location of Carnitas’ Snack Shack. He’s also in talks to create a cooking class curriculum at a local culinary retail store.