Rival gang members give up selling drugs to open pop-up restaurant

Rival gang members give up selling drugs to open pop-up restaurant
With the help of Instagram and high-profile fans like Snoop Dogg, the unlikely popup sensation Trap Kitchen was born.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO/CNN) - The road taken by best friends Malachi “Spank” Jenkins and Roberto “News” Smith to the kitchen is one nobody ever would have imagined.

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

Up until five years ago, these self-described Bloods and Crips gang members were selling drugs and getting into trouble.

Now they’re selling food at their pop-up in San Francisco.

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

One day, when they were short on cash, they had a crazy idea inspired by their grandma.

“Let's sell food,” Smith said. “Sell food? Yeah, sell food."

With the help of Instagram and high-profile fans like Snoop Dogg, the unlikely pop-up sensation Trap Kitchen was born.

“I called my daughter and she said, ‘Oh yeah, I follow them on Instagram. Let’s go,'” said Lashaun Williams.

Smith said there were undercover agents outside his house trying to figure out what he was selling inside of it. All they found were pineapples.

The pineapples used to make their famous pineapple rice bowls couldn’t be a further cry from the gang activity they did in their former lives.

“We just came all the way from LA, landed in Belmont, drove here in a school bus to get some of this food. The hype was worth it,” said Richard Campbell III.

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,” Smith stressed. “You can pick a career and play yourself up and be as big as you want to be."

The duo hopes to open a brick-and-mortar location one day. Until then, you can find a list of their pop-up locations and information on their two cookbooks on their website trapkitchen.com.

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