Childhood Friends Raise the Profile of Their Beloved City
Daniel Cloyd, David Rose, and Michael Jenkins are on a mission to cement L.A. as a serious place for barbecue. The three young founders of CITYBOI Incorporated pay homage to a place which has given them so much — love, support, and boundless hope.
“CITYBOI as a name serves to lay hold to the claim that city boys can be serious artisans in this culinary space,” states Daniel.
Born and raised in Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, and Inglewood, their lives intersected at Price Schools with Daniel and Michael attending kindergarten through 8th grade together. Sadly, Michael’s father passed away when he was eight, leaving his mom to raise four boys.
Soon after this, his beloved grandma passed. With the swift and fervent love and support of good friends, including Daniel and his family, and a caring village of others, Michael, his mom, and his brothers prevailed.
Daniel and David met at St. Bernard High School, becoming instant friends, and playing on the football team. They too, supported one another through adversity, including David’s parents’ divorce and a robbery in which David’s father was shot and paralyzed from the waist down.
This forced David to grow up faster than others with instant responsibilities. He had second thoughts about going to college, yet his dad urged him to go. He attended and graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Daniel attended and graduated from UC Santa Barbara where he ran track and played Rugby. Both David and Daniel went on to work in finance where they remain with day jobs to care for themselves, their own families, and to fund CITYBOI.
Michael attended Santa Barbara City College where he played Rugby, and El Camino College. He supports himself, his family, and the business with work in school public safety.
When asked about his thoughts about recent school shootings across the nation, he shares, “It’s hard to speak about. If you can’t send your kid to school, where can you take him or her? My mentality is if I return home, so does your kid. My job is to make parents feel comfortable through consistent action and earned trust.” Values that are equally important in the marketplace — consistency and trust.
None of the founders of CITYBOI knew that life’s speedbumps and a brother’s keeper response would serve as building blocks for the requisite intestinal fortitude vital for starting a business. They launched just prior to the pandemic with barbecue catering that was decidedly L.A. — a cultural mecca and melting pot of flavor and style.
“L.A. may not have the same reputation for barbecue culture as other regions, yet we are the godfathers of the backyard BBQ boogie,” said David. With a solid start bringing fun, and a unique, flavorful sauce to gatherings throughout Los Angeles, the trio had to reimagine their business model amid the pandemic. They retooled and emerged with an FDA-approved, proprietary barbeque sauce that is prepared, packaged, and shipped by a California distribution company.
With family lines that originate from the Caribbean, Alabama and Missouri, the flavor-infused sauce with an L.A. flair is designed for universal use. It is thinner, making it the perfect complement to myriad dishes — enchiladas, pasta, tofu and more. It is sweet and tangy, with a touch of spice.
Dishes come to life in homes and on HBO Max’s “The Sweet Life,” which is produced by Issa Rae and includes David as a cast member. The trio has wrapped up 10 episodes of the YouTube cooking show, “Taste the City,” and have been part of multiple community festivals and convenings, including Black Flea Market, Black on the Block, and Spicy Green Book.
They are humbly honored to have their sauce sold at Hanks Mini Market on Crenshaw and Florence, bbqLAND in Long Beach, and Byblos Mediterranean Restaurant in Westwood.
Learn more at citiboi-bbq.com.