PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Twin sisters in a Philadelphia neighborhood are calling it “The Jalen Effect.” Jalen Hurts, the Eagles’ starting quarterback, is giving a small, Black-owned business a boost ever since he tried his hand at making a Philadelphia staple.
FoodChasers’ Kitchen in Elkins Park started off small. Twin sisters, Maya and Kala Johnstone, built it from the bottom up.
When Hurts walked into their lives, the sisters say their lives became like a “movie.”
“Can someone call Tyler Perry?” Kala said. “Our life is a dream. I’m telling you, it’s a movie.”
The Johnstone twins are selling out of the “Jalen Special,” the restaurant’s special cheesesteak constructed by Hurts of seasoned steak, fried onions, cooper sharp cheese and mayo. They’re handing them out left and right, like Oprah.
“Everybody gets a cheesesteak,” Kala said.
“But you have to pay for it,” Maya said.
The twin sisters retired from their principal jobs in Philadelphia and decided to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant.
They say at first, the banks laughed at them.
“We should go back to that bank,” Maya said.
“I know, look at me now,” Kala said.
They say out of nowhere, they were asked to host a commercial with Hurts, the Eagles’ star QB.
They say Hurts mingled with the kids and was down to Earth. He even jumped in and helped make a cheesesteak.
“What kind of cheese you want and that’s he said mozzarella and the whole kitchen was like, ‘Bro, no'” Kala said.
“If he wins the Super Bowl, he can do what he wants, he can use any kind of cheese he wants,” Kala added. “He can put cream cheese on it.”
The twins were able to attend events and their business boomed.
“Everyone keeps texting us saying, ‘Yo, tell Jalen.’ I am not telling Jalen nothing, OK?” Kala said. “First of all, I’m leaving Jalen alone.”
Now, fast forward to the NFC championship game.
Hurts stopped by Foodchasers with his family after the Eagles’ 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game.
“We went to the game so everybody is around us and of course, is cheering because it’s the Eagles, Super Bowl,” Kala said. “We are cheering because he’s coming to the restaurant if he wins. So, every time they score, we are like screaming.”
The twins say it’s all about the Jalen effect.
“When they win the Super Bowl, it’s a happy ending for him, for us,” Maya said. “For everybody.”
Aside from their success, the sisters also give back by providing lunches to schools in their community.
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