Chronic Smoothies: Blazin Grill

Article By: George Alberts
Photos By: Courtney Pakalolo

Over the years, there has been a boom of people trying to live healthier lives by exercising and eating right. One obvious problem today is simply the lack of activity. However, the biggest struggle for most is staying away from that fast, extremely unhealthy food we buy when we’re starved or lack the time to prepare a wholesome meal. In essence, it’s very rare to find a restaurant that makes a great effort to eliminate this problem. Chronic Smoothies / Blazin’ Grill has modernized restaurant food with its enticing menu and quality ingredients – setting a new standard for critics everywhere. I had the opportunity to indulge in their incredible menu and meet the owner, which really put things into perspective.

Established in 2000, the business started out as a local smoothie joint in Pacific Beach – Chronic Smoothies. It was an ideal locale for business owner Chris Swiec because of the beach scene and local community. However, like any business, there are always tribulations that come with the territory. In this case, it came in the form of a slumlord that made business tough with constant rent increases and his lack of interest in the building.  But staying focused on what was important, Chris decided it was time to step it up and started increasing the menu by incorporating sandwiches and wraps. “After a while, I started getting hungry and realized smoothies just weren’t enough,” he said. “I definitely wanted more, but needed room to make it happen.” Fortunately, he had a friend a few buildings down that was willing to let him move in and utilize the extra space. And around the time of developing that second spot, he expanded the menu just a little more with burgers, pizzas, salads, etc. “At first, we conducted business out of both locations. Just in case it got too busy at one, we had the other to continue to serve our customers.” Not a bad way to keep business thriving, but he eventually got tired of dealing with the terrible landlord and thought it would be a good idea to consolidate the two businesses into their current location – Chronic Smoothies / Blazin’ Grill.

This place is very inviting with its warm and relaxing atmosphere. The color scheme, eclectic look, and mellow tunes really set the mood and make you feel right at home. You even have a couple of flat screens to keep you entertained with sports games and surf videos while you wait for your food. But if it’s a beautiful day in San Diego, you’re more than welcome to plant yourself on their front patio and enjoy the sun.  This is by far one of the most comfortable atmospheres I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying – a perfect place for all walks of life.

They have everything you could possible need, want, and crave. Whether you’re looking for something light and healthy or hearty and filling, they’ve got you covered. And unlike other places that might have extensive menus, but suck, Chronic Smoothies / Blazin’ Grill produces great tasting food by only using the freshest produce and meats, creating their own unique dressings and sauces, and staying true to that home-style way of cooking. “The quality of our food is what sets us apart from other places. It’s important to me and I incorporate it into every aspect of this business,” Chris said. After talking a bit more with him about the food, I was very anxious to start powering through some of items that caught my eye on the menu.

I started off my afternoon venture with The Homayon’s Hawaiian smoothie.  It’s a blend of fresh pineapple, fresh cut strawberries, banana, freshly squeezed orange juice, and orange sherbet. The flavor was absolutely satisfying.  I could taste everything that went into it without any one ingredient overpowering the other. This was a true fresh fruit smoothie, unlike the crap you might get at other places that use frozen fruits and berries.  So if you’re looking for a smoothie with some serious flavor, stop in and you won’t be disappointed.

Next, I thought I’d try their Chicken Ceasar Salad, which I’m generally not a fan of because of that creamy dressing restaurants usually douse it in. However, I thought I’d give it a try to see if they could challenge a notion that hasn’t changed for me since I was a kid.  When the salad came, it was a very generous portion, which is a plus. It didn’t take long to realize that their Caesar salad was the real deal! Delicious and fresh all the way through, their dressing was appetizing, subtle, and complimented the entire dish – the way it should be.  Unlike other restaurants, they use the TRADITIONAL Caesar dressing; they don’t use anchovies, but incorporate lemon juice to even it out – it was perfect! Frankly, I couldn’t get enough.  Since the dressing didn’t have a creamy overwhelming flavor, I fully enjoyed the fresh romaine lettuce, house-made croutons, parmesan cheese, and tender grilled chicken. The chicken alone was very pleasing because it was REALLY grilled and had the taste I was expecting, but rarely get. Overall, the original and refreshing taste made this salad an exceptional choice!

Finally, I got around to hittin’ that entrée that caught my eye on the menu – The Cali Burger with Blazin’ Fries. The size of this thing was heart-warming and its presentation was eye-pleasing. It consisted of apple wood-smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, sriracha aioli, and cheddar cheese (they have a few kinds of cheeses to choose from). It was put together so well that I felt guilty eating it. The first bite was hard to believe. The tender beef patty had a very familiar and distinct flavor that took me back for a moment. Chris was nice enough to enlighten me about the quality gourmet burger. “Our burgers are nothing like you would find at a burger joint. We use steak shavings for our patties, which can be very hard to come by sometimes. We will never use anything less than top quality, especially with our meats because that’s where you can really taste the difference in our food.” This well-rounded burger is hard to put down once you start. The sriracha aioli dressing blended nicely with the thick slices of smoked bacon, fresh avocados, juicy tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. All the ingredients built up the tender patty and created a delicious full flavor.  Half way through, I had to take a break and nibble on those blazin’ fries, which caught me by surprise with a kick in the mouth! The spice really hit the spot and was a great change of flavor to keep me motivated on finishing that burger. However, I had to eventually throw in the towel because all the food was more than I could handle.

PB locals or San Diegans looking for great food of higher quality have been hittin’ this place up because they know exactly what they’re getting and never leave disappointed. It’s also a comfortable feeling to know that the owner is hands on with his business and does everything from helping customers to preparing the food; that’s how you know everything is done right – all the time! Their restaurant is unique in its concept, layout, and food. With its enticing menu and quality ingredients, Chronic Smoothies / Blazin’ Grill is a better, healthier choice. Whether you’re looking for good food or just trying to stay away from that fast, unhealthy drive-thru menu, this place will present refreshing, healthier options with smoothies, salads, wraps, and natural teas. But if you’re dealing with an uncontrollable hunger, then their burgers, sandwiches, BBQ ribs, and authentic Italian pizzas will do the trick. Chronic Smoothies / Blazin’ Grill has some pretty remarkable food, so don’t leave home without your appetite!

Check out their menu at or stop in and get your grub on.

Chronic Smoothies/Blazin’ Grill
865 Turquoise Street, San Diego, CA 92109

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