Ron Onesti is an entertainment industry powerhouse recognized as an innovative leader across the country. As the President and CEO of the iconic Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and Des Plaines Theatre in Des Plaines, he has brought Vaudeville-era playhouses into the twenty-first century.

He is the Executive Chef/Owner of: Club Arcada Speakeasy and Restaurant, Bourbon ‘N Brass Speakeasy, Rock ‘N Za Pizza Experience, Rock ‘N Ravioli Italian Restaurant, and Des Pizza. Ron is also the founder and Producer of three Italian Culinary festivals-Oakley Avenue Festa Pasta Vino, Taylor Street Little Italy Fest, and Little Italy Fest-West in Addison.

He is an accomplished writer with over three hundred articles published and currently has a Friday column in the Daily Herald entitled, “Backstage with The Arcada Theatre’s Ron Onesti”. Ron is a regular guest on countless radio and television programs.

Ron Onesti is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including Italy’s equivalent to being Knighted in Great Britain, Cavaliere Ufficiale. He was a producer of a PBS special that garnered three Emmy Awards and has been presented with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, one of just a few civilian medal recognized by the United States Congress. In June of 2020, Ron was named the President of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame – just the second in the organization’s 43 year history.
He was born on Taylor Street in May of 1962. His father, Alberto Onesti, was a tailor while his mother Gabriella worked as a seamstress. His parents were proud, working-class, first generation Italian-Americans; his grandparents had come to America and settled in Little Italy, Chicago in 1911. He is the oldest of three siblings, his sister Victoria and his brother Richard. Rich is Vice President of Onesti Entertainment. Ron is a graduate of Weber High School in Chicago and attended DePaul University majoring in Marketing.
Greater detail regarding his business and community efforts are available by request.


It was on September 6, 1926 that the 900-seat Arcada Theatre first opened its doors to a Vaudeville audience and a short “Our Gang Comedy” film.  Eighty years later, Ron Onesti came to St. Charles to take over the reins of the theatre, which was days away from becoming an office complex, and turned it into one of the most popular live music venues in the country. 

Now, in response to the theatre’s popularity coupled with Onesti’s desire to create a one-of-a-kind entertainment and dining experience for his guests, the ninety-four year-old gem is getting a facelift. 

Coinciding with the COVID-19 lockdown that shuttered The Arcada, Onesti, with new partners Curt and Conrad Hurst, are embarking on a complete re-design of every square inch of the building.

“For fifteen years we have been creating life-lasting memories for thousands of music lovers of all ages,” Onesti said.  “But the building was tired, hot in the Summer, cold in the Winter.  And definitely, restroom-challenged!” 

Highlights of this monumental renovation include:

  • New flooring throughout

  • New HVAC – so it will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer…finally!!

  • A Venetian-style outdoor patio space

  • New and renovated bars

  • Video gaming

  • 26 new restrooms

  • A luxurious VIP experience, in a country-club style atmosphere

  • The Arcadian Suites – eleven musically themed hotel super-suites

  • Rock ‘N Za, a rock ‘n roll pizza experience with vintage rock pinball machines

  • A newly renovated stage

  • Upgraded sound and lighting systems

  • Rock ‘N Ravioli, a classic style Italian Restaurant, featuring Ron’s favorite homemade recipes

  • Renovated dressing rooms backstage for our entertainers

  • PLUS so much more!!

Yes, ninety-six years later, The Arcada Theatre is enjoying a revitalization few venues get to boast.  But as Onesti puts it, “I have been dreaming about these changes for a long time.  Now, they are becoming a reality.  I am thrilled that we can show our loyal customers and our beloved bands just how much we appreciate them with better facilities and equipment to make their experience here even more memorable.  And of course, I’ll still have my meatballs to give them.  They are what REALLY keeps them coming back!

The Des Plaines Theater was opened as a vaudeville/movies house on August 9, 1925 with Adolphe Menjou in “Are Parents People” plus five acts of vaudeville on the stage. Built for the Polka Brothers circuit, the theater was designed by architect William B. Betts of neighboring Park Ridge, who also designed the Glen Theatre (now the Glen Art Theatre) in west suburban Glen Ellyn among other theaters. The Spanish Moorish style foyer led into a Spanish Renaissance style auditorium, which originally seated 1,018 patrons and had a large stage and orchestra pit. The theatre was equipped with a 3 manual Geneva theatre organ which was installed in December 1925, and removed from the theatre in August 1934. The theater’s exterior was in an Art Deco style, complete with bright, multi-colored terra cotta on the facade.

In 2014, The Des Plaines was closed and remained closed until October 2021.  In 2018, Ron Onesti and the City of Des Plaines embarked on a complete transformation of this historic gem.  This 1,000 seat theatre boasts musicians, comedians and performers from around the world.  Mirroring its sister property in St. Charles, the building located at 1476 Miner Avenue, houses a Roaring 20s Speakeasy, Bourbon ‘N Brass and Des Pizza, a rock and roll pizza experience.