Former gang members ditch streets for the kitchen

Local News

The road taken by best friends Malachi “Spank” Jenkins and Roberto “News” Smith to the kitchen is one nobody ever would have imagined. 

Jenkins explained,  “You never plan to go to jail, but I got tired of that.”

Up until five years ago, these self-described gang members of the Crips and Bloods weren’t selling food like they are today at their pop-up in San Francisco. But, instead selling drugs and getting into trouble. 

Smith said, “You would put smiles on peoples faces but it wasn’t for the right reasons.” 

One day when they were short on cash, they had a crazy idea.  Inspired by their grandma. Instead of selling drugs, sell food.

With the help of Instagram and tens of thousands of fans, including Snoop Dogg. The unlikely pop-up sensation Trap Kitchen was born.  

Smtih said, “There were undercover agents outside my house trying to figure out what we were selling inside of it. They found this, a pineapple.”

Inside the Isla Vida restaurant, a sold out crowd watied eagerly to taste the duo’s famous pineapple rice bowl and more. 

They have this message for anyone who dreams of the impossible. 

“You don’t have to be an athlete or a rapper just to get out,” said Smith, “You can pick a career and play yourself up and be as big as you want to be.” 

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