King Kobbler Needs Help Fixing His Chariot

King Kobbler Needs Help Fixing His Chariot
Photo: Stephen Jackson / Hoodline
By Stephen Jackson - Published on August 29, 2014.
 If you’ve spent any time around the intersection of Hayes and Divisadero in the past year or so, chances are you’ve run into The King.

Since May 2013, PJ Norris—better known as King Kobbler—has been a neighborhood fixture, clad in a regal cape and crown and selling his cobbler creations out of a modified Cushman. The setup is basically a meter maid car with a sweet paint job that's stocked full of tasty homemade desserts.
 
However, The King's ride has fallen into a state of disrepair of late, and it's been more or less out of commission for the past month and a half. He’s been fixing bits and pieces of the vehicle, but each time a small repair is made, it seems another one pops up. Now, in order to repair his whip once and for all, he’s asking “the citizens of Kobblertropolis” to come his aid.
 
The King has started a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign with the goal to raise $3,000, which will  go towards rebuilding the brakes, fixing the wheel arm unit bearings, and buying a new tire. He also needs some start-up capital to purchase some new threads and develop marketing materials, such as a new logo and labels for his containers.
 
“I’m living hand to mouth,” he told us. "I’m in the position right now where I can pay the rent and walk, or not pay the rent and drive around all night trying to sell peach cobbler.”
 
He told us that he tried lugging around his product on a dolly and in a backpack for a few days, but that it was just too much, and caused him to be laid out for a few days after that with back and shoulder problems.
 
If folks want to keep the cobbler flowing, The King’s going to need some help. “It’s my main source of income…if I’m not rollin’, it’s a mess,” he explained.
 
In addition to his cobbler hustle, The King is also a blues harmonica player that goes by the name of Big Bones. However, he’s recently pared down his performances at Bernal Heights’ Royal Cuckoo to just one night a week so that he can focus the majority of his energy on his passion for baked goods.
 
The way he sees it, his two proclivities are inherently tied to one another.
 
“Mathematics and cooking, it’s all about increments. I use the same type of math when I play notes on a harmonica. I’ve always wanted to cook, but I see this as a way to connect a lot of things about who I am. Blues clubs are my natural habitat. Blues, peach cobbler, all these things are connected.”
 
For The King, all roads lead back to his grandmother’s cooking. He grew up on Pierce and McAllister, right next to the historic Third Baptist Church, and his grandmother prepared all the church's Sunday meals. His grandfather was in the secret service after World War II, meeting many black dignitaries when they would come to Third Baptist, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. DuBois.
 
If you’d like to help The King get his chariot back in order, here’s the link to his fundraising campaign one more time. In the meantime, will another monarch, perhaps the Tyrant of Tiramisu, fill the power vacuum left by The King's absence? Only time will tell.