Mr. Benjamin Darpoh, 40, of 19th Street in Monrovia has found the most effective way to bring food to his customers.“Customers call me and I supply them with food at affordable prices,” Darpoh said in an interview yesterday. Supplying food to his customers is done from a mobile restaurant.Described as ‘mobile kitchen’ the vehicle is equipped with a deep freezer, a microwave oven, an electric cooker, a mini freezer and many gadgets that make his venture workable.Darpoh, a father of two young children, said he decided to venture into this business to offer cheap but quality food service to people that do not have the time to go for lunch. “Catering runs in my family and for me it is a hobby. I love cooking, right. I learned it from my mother (Madam McLeod Darpoh, former Commerce Minister). I turned what became my hobby into a money-making venture,” he said.Darpoh said he started the business with assistance from one of his cousins. “A lot of people are not involved into this particular business and my cousin embraced the idea and today I am finally doing it,” he said.He admitted the cost to the venture is high, “and since I began two and half months ago, the profit is trickling in and I know that with time things will become better.”On the challenges he faces as the owner of a restaurant on wheels, he said the prices are not stable because of the inability of the Liberian government to regulate commodity prices. However, he is not deterred and is moving ahead.Mr. Darpoh urged Liberians to visit him on Broad Street, opposite Rivoli Cinema to taste his cuisine that is taking the city by storm.Some of the foods he offers include hot dogs, chicken burger/Hamburger, chicken sandwich, French fries, fried chicken, fried rice and chicken and chicken pie.Many of his customers are students of the nearby BW Harris High School. Sales are higher in the evening hours, he said, and he has offers for group services.“I’m working on delivery services to my customers anywhere in the city using motorbikes,” Darpoh said.For now the long white bus depicting his wares, is seen near the Rivoli Cinema with chairs set out for customers to enjoy the meals that only Ben Darpoh and his team can offer.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Odds and ends around the San Fernando Valley: The heart of the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Valley Bureau doesn’t wear a uniform or carry a gun. She’s not even a police officer. She’s Ellie Vargas, who was looking for something worthwhile to fill her time after she retired as a critical-care nurse. She found it – and more – during the next 13 years as a volunteer with the LAPD. Ellie’s retiring again next month and moving to Texas to be near her grandchildren. They called Ellie, who stayed with the girls until their mother was located and arrived home from work five hours later. Answering phones was never enough for Ellie. She had to be where the action was. She and volunteer Lana Kuhlen founded the West Valley Crisis Response Team in 1996. Today, there’s one in every police station in the city. “Someone had to help the police officers at a homicide or suicide, and take care of despondent family members until more family arrived. Why not us?” Ellie said. Add the work she did with Neighborhood Watch groups, the Valley’s Hate Crime Alliance, and being one of the original members of the Community Police Advisory Board in the West Valley, and you see what Senior Lead Officer Vic Monroe is talking about when he says nobody will ever be able to replace Ellie Vargas. “She was the heart of LAPD in the West Valley,” he said. A retirement/going away party for Ellie will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the West Valley Police Station, 19020 Vanowen St., Reseda. The San Fernando Valley lost one of its true pioneers recently with the passing at 89 of Bernie Shapiro, founder of the private El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana. A self-made millionaire by 31, Bernie went into semiretirement and came down with the same bug that attacks so many people with affluence and free time. Golf. What he got next was an education in a lot more than just golf, he told me in a 1994 interview. “I was invited as a guest by my insurance agent to play with him at his private club one day in 1950,” Bernie said. “I was ignorant about country clubs. “I’d been playing public courses where you put your $1 green fee down and waited for your name to be called. Then you went out with three other guys you didn’t know and carried your own clubs for 18 holes.” Bernie was impressed with the valet car service and caddies carrying members’ clubs at his friend’s club. When he got home and told his wife, she said he should join. “When I told my friend I wanted to join, he started putting up roadblocks – the club was too far from my home to be convenient, that it got expensive having a caddy carry your clubs every day. “I couldn’t understand it and finally asked him what was really wrong. He told me they didn’t allow Jews.” The next day, Bernie got out the Yellow Pages and called every private club in Los Angeles. None of them allowed Jews. That’s when Bernie realized that while affluence and free time may be a big part of the American dream, they were not enough to gain entree into the heady atmosphere of private golf club membership in Los Angeles – not when your last name was Shapiro. So Bernie called some of his wealthy friends and told them he wanted to build a country club where there were no restrictions on membership, other than you had the money to join. Bernie found 150 acres in Tarzana, formerly owned by “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, signed a 99-year lease, and built the El Caballero Country Club. “I put it right up front and let potential members know I wanted a mixed group of people here, not a segregated one,” he said. R.I.P., Bernie. You accomplished an awful lot of good in life, but for my money, your greatest legacy is the statement you made with that golf club. And finally, a few upcoming events you may want to look in on. Saturday, the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will host a 60th anniversary of V-J Day, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive. At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Valley Jazz Club will present Evie Fiorani and All That Jazz at the Elk’s Hall, 20917 Osborne St., Canoga Park. Admission is $9. And if you’re looking for a little Hawaii with your upcoming Labor Day weekend, Horace Heidt Jr. is having his annual Labor Day Luau, featuring his band with singer Marilyn King and a Polynesian show and fire dance. The outdoor luau will be Sept. 4 at Horace Heidt Estates, 14155 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Dinner’s at 7 p.m., show’s at 8 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (818) 784-8211. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “I made the mistake of asking a police officer when I retired in 1992 if they ever used volunteers in their department?” she said Thursday, laughing. “They did.” Calling Ellie Vargas just a volunteer is like calling Florence Nightingale just a nurse, says Cmdr. Val Paniccia, assistant commander of the West Valley Bureau. It doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what this woman has meant to the department and community. “Ellie’s a tough, old retired nurse with a heart of gold. She’s done more for our police officers and people in the community than anyone will ever know.” Paniccia’s right. The first time I met Ellie she had spent an afternoon holding two scared little girls in her arms, wiping away their tears. A despondent father had committed suicide in front of the girls, and police officers at the scene needed someone to look after the girls while they conducted their investigation.