After mere months open, soul food destination Trap Kitchen is already looking to open a second truck. Owned by Malachi “Spank” Jenkins and Roberto “Sous Chef News” Smith, the Compton, LA-based pop-up opened its first stationary location in Portland earlier this year, churning out thick-and-peppery piles of mac and cheese and loaded pineapple grilled meat bowls on Stark near 82nd. As lines continue to accumulate, Jenkins said this location easily has more clientele than the Los Angeles business.
“It’s crazy; people think we’re open 24 hours a day,” Jenkins said, standing outside his truck. “This is food cart Mecca.”
The team is looking for restaurant locations in Los Angeles, but Jenkins said a second event truck is a main priority up here, to accommodate summer events.
Willamette Week broke the news that the popular Los Angeles pop up has set up shop on Stark, in a truck between 205 and 82nd. Jenkins comes up every other week to manage the truck, while Jenkins’ manager and local rapper Mikey Vegaz stays close to keep things on track. “Chef Woe” manages the kitchen most days, making strawberry and cocoa cakes for dessert.
Trap Kitchen was a culinary peace treaty: Rival gang members Jenkins and Smith started the catering business in Compton in 2013. Jenkins learned to cook while growing up with his single mother and spent time at Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas. From there, he began cooking for pimps before jumping ship to open his own business.
Jenkins told LA Weekly that his decision to open in Compton was to serve an area that had little access to fresh food, three years before Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson opened the buzzy LocoL in Watts. The choice to open on Stark near “the numbers” was similar: to be centrally located within the black community in Portland.
The second truck, instead, will work larger events; Jenkins dropped names like Nike. For now, pineapple bowls and chicken and waffles are still flying out of the Stark truck.
• Trap Kitchen [Official]
• Trap Kitchen [Instagram]
• There Is Nothing Else in Portland Like Trap Kitchen [WWeek]
• Trap Kitchen in Compton Uses Instagram as a Food Delivery App [LA Weekly]