After the success of their first joint venture—Juniper & Ivy, which opened in March 2014—owner Michael Rosen and chef Richard Blais took a second swing with a new eatery, The Crack Shack. When it opened in late 2015, it was another home run. Both restaurants share the same made-from-scratch, artisanal approach to dining, but The Crack Shack makes the mouthwatering cuisine more accessible.


From Top Chef to The Crack Shack

Chef Blais is known for being many things: a successful chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, to name a few. He’s probably most recognizable as the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars. Before winning the title on TV, he graduated graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and trained at The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and el Bulli.

Not only has Blais won Top Chef, but he’s also appeared on Iron Chef America and Chopped All-Stars as a competitor; is a recurring judge on Top Chef and Master Chef; and has also judged episodes of Guy’s Grocery Games, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Cooks vs Cons. And if you’re flipping channels, you might also catch him as a host on Burger Lab, Cook Your A$$ Off, and Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship.

Away from the cameras, he owns and operates Trail Blais, a culinary consulting company, that has helped design and manage popular eateries like Flip Burger Boutique in the Southeast, and Juniper & Ivy and The Crack Shack in SoCal.


Fried Chicken, the Richard Blais Way

Chef Blais is now bringing his credibility and culinary expertise to The Crack Shack. Inspired by Rosen’s intense love of all things chicken, Blais partners with executive chef Jon Sloan to “elevate” and honor both the chicken and the egg.

The fine-casual spot’s all-day menu puts poultry at its center; chicken and eggs—fried, grilled, and even deviled—are a part of just about every dish.

But be warned: Blais’ fried chicken is addicting. It’s delectable enough to eat alone, but also pairs superbly with the rainbow of house-made sauces (Kimchi BBQ, Sriracha 1000 Island, Sweet Heat, Baja Hot Sauce, Buttermilk Ranch, and “Cracksup”).

The Crack Shack uses only the finest, freshest local ingredients to create the delicious dishes on its playful menu. The dishes include Jidori chickens that are fed with all natural, antibiotic-free grains and allowed to roam freely on the pastures of small, local farms. Beyond the chicken and eggs, the restaurant uses top-quality produce sourced from boutique farms.

Blais and Sloan transform these ingredients into high-end culinary creations to the delight of San Diego’s foodies. The Crack Shack delivers its addicting friend chicken, sandwiches, and sides in a cool, outdoor space. Both the Little Italy and Encinitas locations offer an accessible, affordable chance to dine at a famed Richard Blais restaurant.

So if you’re looking to experience and dine at one of Richard Blais’ restaurants, start with The Crack Shack. The elevated, experimental comfort food will soon become your go-to dining spot. Check out our mouthwatering menu by visiting us online or stopping by one of our locations.