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Meet Chris McAfee of The Smok’d Hog

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris McAfee.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Chris. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been in the service industry since I was 13 were I worked at a sandwich stand at the Convention center. To this day I’m sure they never really knew how old I was. By the age of 14-15 the owner used to toss me the key and just say I’ll see you at the end of the day.

When I was 16, I worked at Miguel’s Cocina, part of the Brigantine Co. In my time there I remember the owner Mike talking to use in a team meeting about coming from Point Loma and starting with just one restaurant. I remember enjoying the industry then and thinking he did it so can I. From that moment I wanting to own a restaurant.

When I turned 21, I started bartending and barbacking at Croce’s in downtown. I now have bartended downtown for the past 14 years, I open and still work at The Hard Rock Hotel. While working at The Hard Rock Hotel, at the craziest pool parties this side of the US, I learned what a real work day was. 6hr a day isn’t a real work day, a work day ends when you’re done. The amount of time it takes to finish doesn’t really matter. I started a small catering company which lead to a gamble of opening The Smok’d Hog on credit, which is why I still bartend.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If you are preparing to go down a road of starting a business, just know your also going to have to pave that road. It is never easy or smooth. I had to take out loans and max out credit card to get The Smok’d Hog open and in this time of a build out no money was coming in. Once the door open, the public doesn’t just not flood in, which is honestly a good thing. In the start you have to find what you do good and establish a trust with the public that you’re going to be consistent and take of them. All while this is going on in the first couple years you still have to pay your bills, and this is why I still bartend at The Hard Rock Hotel. To sum it up is the biggest obstacle is perfecting your proven product while managing constant hurdles of everyday business.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Smok’d Hog is a sandwich shop that specializes in Smoked meats AKA BBQ. What makes us different is we do regional BBQ. In general BBQ is different all across America, and depending were you are that BBQ is the best. San Diego is best known for being a beautiful city that attracts transplants, which makes it the perfect location to have a bbq restaurant with regional bbq options. What I’m most proud of is when a customer tells me they never thought they’d find food as good as their mom or grandma’s, and The Hog brought them back home. Honesty hospitality is in my blood and spending days on a meal that a stranger order, eats, appreciate, and then leaves as a new friend is what I’m most proud of.


  • Ribs (Saturday and Sunday after 4pm) Front Half $15, Back Half $18, Full Rack $30
  • Fried Chicken Friday, Meat only $9
  • Fried Chicken Friday Plate (Meat and Side Option) $11

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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