Born in Bronx, NY Eboni is an East coast girl that has migrated to the West. She has a Bachelor’s of Science with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Eboni has a love for people which has led her to her career in Guest Services. She is the Director of Guest Services at T-Mobile Arena. With over 13 years of venue experience under her belt, Eboni has opened three arenas and worked in some of the largest markets in the country including Charlotte, NC, Washington D.C. and Brooklyn, NY.
Eboni’s position allows her to work with an amazing team of over 200 people. She loves to uplift other at work as well as her personal life. A lover of food, family, sports, and travel, Eboni always look for an opportunity to engage with others. Articles, books, and podcast on leadership and spiritual growth as well as her current role provide her a classroom.
By TOM RAGAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
A lot of local business owners give back to the community. It’ s hard not to when you the community is your customer base.
But Mario Berlanga, owner of Mario’s West Side Market, really walks the walk and talks the talk.
He adopted two children, now 18, who played on the Little League baseball team he sponsored more than a decade ago after hearing how their parents abandoned them; and, of the 38 employees who work for him, 32 are from the immediate West Side, many live within walking distance of the market.
Flanked by a McDonald’s, a Jack in the Box, a Dollar General and a soon-to-open Pollo Loco, Mario’s West Side Market is an independent operator in a sea of franchises, located on the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Lake Mead boulevards.
It’s the only place in that area offering a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and home-cooked meals in a part of town where processed foods and supersized drinks are commonplace. In short, Mario’s is the “Cheers” version of a store and restaurant: Everybody knows just about everybody by name, including Berlanga, who grew up in the Marble Manor and Casa Rosa subsidized housing projects just blocks away.
As it turns out, it was Berlanga’s next-door neighbor at Casa Rosa, an outgoing elderly black woman by the name of Ida Jackson, who taught him and his 10 brothers and sisters how to prepare dozens of dishes from the Deep South, some of which you can now be found in Mario’s delicatessen, from the Peach Cobbler to the smothered pork chops to the Ox Tail soup.
Indeed, it was Ida’s recipes — along with her wisdom — that ended up having a lasting effect on Berlanga’s life, serving as quite the contrast from the tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas that his family was accustomed to eating, his mother being from Laredo, Texas; his father a few hours south of the border, in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
Berlanga as a teen worked alongside Ida in her kitchen at Casa Rosa, which has since been torn down. But her recipes keep on living, along with the impression she left on Berlanga. When the flour and cheese would come in bulk, courtesy of the a food stamp program, Ida taught Berlanga how to quickly scan the back of flour for cake recipes.
As for the cheese, well, it could be added to just about anything, Berlanga quickly discovered.
“We used to call them ‘commodities,’ ” said Berlanga, 52, whose birth name was actually Maurilio only nobody could pronounce it in grade school and so it became “Mario” by default.
Keith A. Rogers is a freelance writer and 40-year career journalist who worked as a senior staff writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Valley Times in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He covered national defense, nuclear policy and veterans affairs issues. He attended Michigan State University before being drafted for the U.S. Army. He served in the 561st Military Police Detachment, Fort McNair, Military District of Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from California State University, Hayward.