Three seconds. That's roughly how long it takes for friends and fans of Ron Onesti to merrily accost him at the Office, a bar and eatery near his Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Onesti could be mayor of this 'burb, it's suggested, and in fact he once pondered running for 36th Ward alderman. But the born promoter, a first-generation Italian-American, has no interest in politics.
"Mayor," he says wryly, "would be a step down."
Onesti has run the Arcada for nearly 9 years, during which time he has lured countless concertgoers from Chicago and far beyond to watch such headliners as Richard Marx, Don Rickles, Foreigner, Air Supply and numerous others.
It's not easy to keep the joint afloat, though, and Onesti has encountered his share of roadblocks. But even though he ponders closing shop "every day," it's not in him.
"I'd go have a show, people leaving with tears in their eyes [because] it was the best night of their life," he told the Sun-Times. "And it was like, 'Oh, I gotta do it. I gotta figure something out.'"
For more on Ron and his theater
And here's some footage of the acts who've played in his venerable 900-seat venue: