Ron Onesti is proud of his Italian heritage, as evidenced by his position as President of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA). He is also proud of his growing entertainment empire of Chicago-area restaurants, concert venues, and cultural festivals under the Onesti Entertainment banner.
On the Friday, July 21 episode of radio show and podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, Onesti talks about his many entertainment ventures including the Arcada Theatre and the Des Plaines Theatre, as well as his experiences growing up in a heavily Italian community on Taylor Street in Chicago.
The top of the episode includes a nod to Laura Orrico of Laura Orrico Public Relations for suggesting the interview and putting the two Chicago personalities in contact with one another. Orrico and Travolta have both been recently interviewed for their expertise by NTD News on how the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes are affecting Hollywood. In addition, Oricco is a vice president of the JCCIA.
In the interview, Onesti discusses his parents and his childhood in Chicago. He stresses how his parents’ encouragement led him to go into business at an early age and eventually turn the focus of his business interests to entertainment.
The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and the Des Plaines Theatre in Des Plaines were at one-point run-down venues on the verge of demolition. Since acquiring the two former vaudevillian-era playhouses, Onesti has beautifully restored them and turned them into the home of must-see touring acts.
Upcoming events at the two theatres include Frankie Avalon on his final tour, Robby Krieger of The Doors, comedian Andrew Dice Clay, Lita Ford, Joss Stone, Buckcherry, Digital Underground and Sugarhill Gang, and Crystal Gayle.
As that Travolta is the publicist for Steven Adler who has performed the hits of Appetite for Destruction from his Guns n’ Roses days in blockbuster shows at the Arcada Theatre, the conversation does go to Onesti’s secret recipe meatballs. Onesti’s meatballs are a favorite of Adler when he comes to Chicago.
Onesti is not only the owner, but also the executive chef of Club Arcada Speakeasy and Restaurant, Bourbon ‘N Brass Speakeasy, Rock ‘N Za Pizza Experience, Rock ‘N Ravioli Italian Restaurant, and Des Pizza. And it all stems from the Italian cooking he learned growing up on Taylor Street.
Although he wasn’t raised in Chicago, Travolta is very acquainted with Taylor Street himself. When Travolta was brought to Chicago to star in Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, one of his first stops was Taylor Street to be submersed in the Italian culture specific to this city. Travolta and Onesti compare notes on this during the interview.
It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee is a half-hour, weekly interview show about the entertainment industry with guests ranging from local personalities to celebrities from the worlds of film, television, theatre, music, and literature. It airs every Friday at 3 PM CST on 101.5 FM out of Huntley, IL.
The Ron Onesti interview is also immediately available as a popular podcast on Spotify and all major apps.
For information on the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans visit: www.jccia.com.
For information on upcoming events at the Arcada Theatre and the Des Plaines Theatre visit www.oshows.com.
Another great show to put on your calendar is THE PRINCESS STRIKES BACK. This hit touring comedy is coming to Chicago for two performances. I highly recommend you catch at least one!
The Princess Strikes Back answers that question in a way everyone can relate to. It will make you smile until your cheeks burn and laugh like you haven’t laughed in years.
Coming to Chicago’s North Shore at the historic Skokie Theatre on Friday August 11 and Friday August 18,
Peace. Love. Trust.
Rikki Lee Travolta
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