The Crack Shack recently opened its second location in Encinitas. The original location in Little Italy has been one of our favorite spots in San Diego and my top choice for fried chicken in San Diego, and spot we most frequently take friends to.
The new space is even bigger and has a roof. The floor to ceiling windows give it a similar outdoor feel of the Little Italy location, but with better protecting during rain and bad weather conditions. It also located in a plaza with a large parking lot.
We visited the restaurant about a week after it opened. The lines were quite long when we arrived and after we left. However, the line did move fairly fast and our food arrived a few minutes after we grabbed our seats. I think part of the reason for the long line (other than the excitement for this new opening) is that the menu is not displayed on the outside wall of the restaurant like it is at the Little Italy location. As a result, most people were looking over the menu for the first time when they had reached the register and then taking time figuring out what they wanted to order.
schmaltz fries, pollo asado, jalapeño cheese wiz
The fries were very crispy and I enjoyed eating them with the tender pollo asado and slightly spicy jalapeño cheese wiz.
This is always one of our must-orders. Chicken oysters are two small pieces of dark meat found near the thigh of a chicken and are supposed to be the part of the bird that is the most tender and with the most flavor. Since each bird only has two, it’s a very nice treat to get so many in one sitting.
One new thing I noticed is that you now have a choice of “original or hot” for the chicken oysters. The hot version is smothered in a hot sauce. I tried a small sample during their soft opening party, but I prefer the original version because I felt that the hot sauce overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the chicken oysters and took away from the crispness of the batter. I prefer to dip the oysters in the mustard seed tartar provided. The crispy kale is also a great accompaniment.
señor croque and 5-piece fried chicken
It was my friend’s first time here, so we had to introduce her to our favorite sandwich and the fried chicken.
I really love the thick, crackly, crunchy batter of the fried chicken with all its various spice. It’s still my favorite fried chicken in San Diego.
The sandwich was good too. The thick fried chicken patty is moist and flavorful and the smoky bacon, melted cheese, and runny fried egg make it an ideal breakfast fried chicken sandwich.
Overall, we had a solid meal at The Crack Shack and found the food to be on par with the Little Italy location. Since the restaurant is brand new, they still seem to be working out a few kinks. As I mentioned above, I do think they need a bigger menu on display before guests reach the register. Their famous house-made sauces are on tap at this location but kept clogging up during our visit. While my meal was wonderful, my cousin went earlier in the week and said his chicken was heavy and still had visible flour on it. Luckily, we didn’t have any issues with the food during my visit. I do like the addition of a second location and I love that this space has a parking lot, more seats and a roof.
The Crack Shack Encinitas
407 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024