After being closed for 14 months because of the pandemic, the Club Arcada in St. Charles reopened its doors Friday night.
And Ron Onesti, president and founder of Onesti Entertainment, relished being able to welcome Vinny and Vin A. of The Bronx Wanderers to the stage.
“When I was on stage looking at the crowd and seeing how much they were looking forward to it, it’s hard to describe the feeling,” Onesti said afterwards.
He also recognized many longtime customers in the crowd.
“It was like being at a wedding and seeing family members that you haven’t seen for years,” Onesti said.
With the state set to enter the Bridge Phase next week because of improving COVID-19 numbers and possibly to a full reopening in June, Onesti said he feels now is the right time to reopen.
“I stuck to my guns,” he said. “A lot of our peers, they opened, or they went 25% or they did curbside. But I decided that until we’re fully done and fully ready and fully safe, we’re not going to open. Now I feel good about it and we’re on our way.”
Kris Lavora of Wisconsin is happy to hear live music again.
“It totally fills a hole in your heart,” she said. “People that like live music don’t want to go without it. When everything got shut down and everything got cancelled and the world was in this uproar, I think a lot of people missed out on a lot of things. Having the ability to be able to see live music again just kind of fills that gap. You want to be able to see everything in person.”
It also is a communal experience for her.
“It’s a gathering of people having fun together and enjoying time together,” Lavora said. “It’s a come together moment.”
She went to the show with her sister-in-law, Lisa Monville of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is a devoted fan of The Bronx Wanderers.
“I’ve been following them for at least 14 years,” Monville said. “It’s the music that I love. I grew up on the oldies.”
Following the reopening of Club Arcada, the 900-seat Arcada Theatre is set to reopen in July. Two new restaurants – Rock ‘N Za and Rock ‘N Ravioli – are set to open in the Arcada Theatre building as part of a major renovation project that includes new eateries, hotel suites and additional bathrooms. Rock ‘N Za is set to open by the end of the month and Rock ‘N Ravioli is expected to open by July or August, Onesti said.
The hotel suites are expected to open by August or September, he said.
The expansion project began to take shape last year after Frontier Development purchased the Arcada building in 2019. Onesti Entertainment leases space in the building for the Arcada Theatre and Club Arcada.
The historic building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, first opened its doors in 1926 and attracted performers such as George Burns and Gracie Allen.