There are not many old school barber shops left in Chicago. Alfredo's at 833 N. State is one of the few. It is a place where wicked barbs are exchanged and you better be quick or dead. People from all walks of life come into the joint to get their hair cut. Cops, law professors and students from Loyola law school, politicians, CEO's, priests who work for the Chicago Archdiocese, near north denizens, passersby, a former and the the current Cardinal of the Catholic Archdiocese, and even some gangsters, when gangsters were still around.
Though located near the Gold Coast, Alfredo's is not a fancy salon. It is a barber shop. What you see is what you get. It is not one of those high line salons that smell of chemicals or expensive designer scents. Everyone is treated like family when they walk in the door. Like family, everyone is subject to insult and ridicule too. The barber shop is small, plain, and simple.
Alfredo Fricano opened the the shop in 1958, when he came to Chicago from Italy. He and his barbers have cut the hair of the rich and famous, infamous, and the everyday working people of the near north side. It is one of those places where the phrase, "If these walls could talk" aptly applies.
Alfredo's, like most Chicago institutions, is going the way of the wrecking ball. Alfredo Fricano's lease was not renewed and the owners of the small building housing the shop have plans to tear it down. Alfredo will be moving at the end of this month to a new location. Another old school Chicago joint will be lost.
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