"Carnitas Snack Shack is a craft beer and pork house. That place is the epitome of gluttony in the best way, with high-level execution."
"We sold everything we had - my dream motorcycle, our belongings - to start Carnitas. I had to ride on a little orange scooter for a year to commute here because it was all we had. We really sold everything.
We did the credit cards. We got denied by everyone for loans. I mean, we know what it's like. We literally had $100 in our bank account after everything was built out. But you're so excited and pumped that you're actually doing it, and honestly, we had good press in the early days because I had won San Diego Chef of the Year and was inducted into the Chef Hall of Fame, so it helped us out. We had the industry coming in because they knew us."
"I love being able to take a raw product and to create something like an artist. When I see you take a bite after that meal, I know whether you liked it or not. I love watching someone take a bite of a Triple Threat or the Steak Sandwich. When you see it and you see them smile and stop, that's it. That’s what keeps pushing me. That’s a satisfaction that they’re getting instantly and that's what we strive for, that happy look every day."
My Advice for Others
"Make sure you’re ready. I'd been cooking for 25 years before I opened this. I knew what I wanted to do, I had the experience and I took the risk. But I think that's the hardest part when you do something on your own - it’s you.
When you jump off that diving board, swan dive it. Don’t freakin’ panic or cannonball it. But don’t just flail, really focus.
Every day you have to get up and keep wanting to do it. The more you get past that fear and get over the risk, everything starts coming together."
Our San Diego Musts
"We're in San Diego, so there are lots of taco shops, like Colima's Mexican Food and Cocina 35. Little Lion is delicious, with a huge restaurant history. The Red Fox is awesome, with great steaks and cocktails.