By Ralph Dummit / St. Charles Post Bureau Chief
Chuck Berry's talents
as an electrician and interior decorator are unlikely to eclipse
his fame as a rock 'n' roll idol. But he recently has been spending
more time gripping a lineman's pliers and selecting carpeting than
performing the duck-walk. Berry has taken a personal hand in renovating
the Southern Air Restaurant, a landmark eatery in Wentzville that
he bought earlier this year.
After being closed
for about a year, the remodeled and redecorated food sections of
the restaurant opened Sept. 12. The restaurant's dining rooms seat
a total of 141 people. Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.
International days are planned for the near future, when menus from
different countries will be featured each day.
is helping put the final touches to what he calls ''the music and
drink room,'' formerly used for banquets and as a meeting room for
local civic organizations. The room occupies a south wing of the
building. It is connected to the restaurant section and the kitchen,
but it has its own private entrance.
Too busy for a sit-down
interview Wednesday morning, Berry invited a reporter to follow
him around as he scurried from the music room to the kitchen and
back again. While stripping insulation from wiring for an amplifier,
Berry said that the music room would be open four hours a night,
from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. ''We'll have live music
three nights a week,'' he said. ''I'll perform once in awhile.''
Berry has a home south of Wentzville.
He would not confirm
earlier reports that the music room would feature memorabilia from
the heyday of his career. Berry could not say when the music room
would open. His attorney in Wentzville, William J. Zollmann, said
he expects approval soon on a state liquor license for the Southern
Air. The music room and a separate cocktail lounge are expected
to open as soon as the state license is received.
The music room features
a raised bandstand in the southwest corner, flanked by two thick
wall tapestries in brilliant colors. A short bar is on the west
side of the room. Tables for four take up the rest of the floor
space. Asked about the size of the music room, Berry didn't hesitate.
With a carpet installer's familiarity with floor dimensions, Berry
shot back, ''It's 49 by 63".