NAME: MARK ONSTOTT
Job: Owner, Tavern on Main at 301 E. Main St. in Belleville (233-6246)
Outlook: "It's satisfying when people come back and like what you're doing."
Until recently, Mark Onstott had been operating three establishments in Belleville, but never one downtown. The proprietor of Marco's On Main restaurant and Shenanigan's sports bar, both on West Main Street, as well as the Marco's Express carryout eatery on Lebanon Avenue has opened a new restaurant and bar on East Main Street called Tavern On Main. Onstott recently sat down with business writer Will Buss to talk about his latest venture:
What led you to establishing Tavern On Main?
"I always wanted to be downtown and the opportunity finally came up."
How have consumers responded?
"We've got a really good response from the people in downtown, from the local businesses and the courthouse. We opened in November for dinner, so we were open for about three months before we opened up the bar. We really like being in the downtown area. People are coming from all over."
What's happening at your three other businesses?
"We've got Shenanigan's and Marco's On Main that are next to each other on the west end. At Marco's, we have lunch buffet Monday through Friday. Seven nights a week, we are open for dinner there and have a big menu. Everything is made fresh, all of the pasta, all of the calzones and all of the food. Shenanigan's is a sports bar, and we also have Marco's Express for pick up or delivery. It has the same food as Marco's On Main."
How long have you been in this business?
"Thirty-three years. I started in 1980."
What separates Tavern On Main from other downtown restaurants?
"This is the first place where we've really had some real foot traffic. I also have a garage door to open up the bar outdoors. I always wanted a bar with a garage door. So when (building owner Greg Crawford) and I got together, he said, 'What do you want?' And I said, 'I want a garage door.' And he said, 'How many do you want?' Just one. I always wanted a place where you could just walk in and out of, New Orleans style."
What have you enjoyed most about running your businesses?
"It's satisfying when people come back and like what you're doing. I know tons and tons of people. I might not know everybody's name, but know I lots and lots of people. It's always good when they come back."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.