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I Barbieri

Posted by Staff / Posted on October 23, 2012

I BarbieriIt's the middle of Sukkot when I visit Anthony Del Maestro at I Barbieri, his old school barbershop in the middle of the heavily orthodox Jewish stretch of Bathurst by Lawrence, and that means it's a quiet morning. Dapper and precise - his chairside table, carefully laid out with scissors and clipper blades, is the neatest I've ever seen - Anthony tells me how he came to open up his shop in the middle of one of the city's most identifiable enclaves.

The spot had been a hair salon for just six months when he found it last year, and a locksmith's shop before that. That meant that the plumbing and layout were already in place before Del Maestro made it over into the "retro-ish barber shop" he'd been imagining since the mid-90s, after he'd finished his apprenticeship in a hair salon.

I BarbieriHe'd watched the revival of the old school barbershop over the last few years - he mentions Garrison's and Blood & Bandages - but says that he didn't want to leave behind his hair salon training entirely.

"A retro style shop isn't enough," he tells me. "The seven minute haircut has gone by the wayside. We need to take it to the next level."

He adds that he doesn't want to return to the fussy days of perms and blow-dryers, but insists that men need to aim for something better than just "clean."

"I don't think men need to look perfect - they just need to look their best."

Right now, he says that his clientele is 80 per cent Orthodox, from the neighbourhood, and that they're very precise about what they want, from keeping their peyos to maintaining neat, short cuts. It also means a lot of beards, which means he's always eager for an excuse to offer the shaves that he consider the hallmark of a good barber, and which looked to be disappearing a decade or so back.

"To the retro barber shop it's the anchor," he tells me. "Like the whole 'shave and a hair cut - two bits' thing."

I BarbieriUnder the watchful eye of L.V., the very handsome and aloof barbershop tuxedo cat, Anthony starts in on the very methodical ritual of a proper shave, applying hot towels and pre-shave lotion, then working on my beard with short strokes under the light coming in through the big picture window.

He considerately asks about ingrown hairs before he starts - more than just a nicety for men who've ever suffered from them - and offers to do a trim of ear and nose hair while he's finishing up. (Young men might blush and grimace, but trust me - it'll happen to you.)

Anthony's shave takes time, and he charges accordingly - shaves are $22, four bucks more than a men's haircut - but that's as it should be, especially in an age when most men only seem to need a few passes of the clippers and a few minutes of trimming with the scissors. Take it as a rule of thumb that you'll probably regret it if your barber charges less for a shave than a haircut.

The results are worth it - Anthony's shave is clean and rash-free, carefully drawn around my goatee and sideburns, and mercifully free of the post-shave burn that comes from overzealous razor work. It might be a bit out of the way, but I Barbieri is a find addition to the city's network of old school barbers.

I BarbieriWriting and photography by Rick McGinnis

Discussion

53 Comments

Paul / October 23, 2012 at 09:22 am
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Shaving is like a cup of coffee - you don't know you've had a good one until you've had a really good one.
Ando / October 23, 2012 at 10:29 am
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Thank you, Rick, for taking the time to come in and feature I Barbieri, and thank you for the opportunity to shave you. Great feature! LV looks great.
E / October 23, 2012 at 11:21 am
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I forgot what a real fade looked like until Ando came to town. The client really comes first. If he served Scotch and cigars I would never leave.
Moi / October 23, 2012 at 11:32 am
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Why is when I saw this Barber's pic, I wanted to say "YOU RANG?" . . . ba ha haaaaaaa ;)
A / October 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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I completely agree with "E", get a liquor license! I will make the trek for any barber who does this.
Aaron / October 23, 2012 at 01:01 pm
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They finally got the article up online! Glad to see you made a good impression Ando! I'll be back at the shop sometime soon
john/katia / October 23, 2012 at 04:12 pm
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Great article on a great guy. Place looks A1 all the way. Can't wait to goand get shaved. Is LV short for elvis?
Jen / October 23, 2012 at 06:26 pm
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I trust this guy based on his own shaved maintenance. Great photos.
Greg / October 24, 2012 at 07:39 am
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Ando, congrats on the write up. There comes a time in a man's hectic life of job and family running around when he matures into finding a "local"..... Wether it's that great little bar where everybody knows your name or tucked away barber shop that's like a secret haven of attention and quality. I Barbeiri is that and more. Proud to say your my local.
Jason / October 24, 2012 at 09:48 am
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Anyone know what time they open on Saturday?
Jason / October 24, 2012 at 09:49 am
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and do you need to call ahead?
Dima / October 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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Anthony my congrats . The place looks wonderful. I love going to your shop to get a haircut. Comfort, precision and that wonderful personality u posses have me coming back every time. Did I forget to mention the feeling of satisfaction that I experience when I leave the place looking good , feeling great and pumped from the espresso u keep feeding me. I cant wait for the next haircut and the next and one after that as well.
Ando replying to a comment from Aaron / October 24, 2012 at 05:55 pm
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Hey Aaron, thanks. Look forward to next time. Take care.
Ando replying to a comment from john/katia / October 24, 2012 at 05:56 pm
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Hey John, I'm sharpening the razor, heh heh. (That's my evil laugh)
Ando replying to a comment from john/katia / October 24, 2012 at 05:57 pm
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Hey Moi, can't argue with you, I look like I was not ready for that one. But, Adam's Family is touring, so I always have options.
Ando replying to a comment from john/katia / October 24, 2012 at 05:58 pm
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Hey E and A, I will work on getting the liquor license. This place will really be a man cave then.
Ando replying to a comment from Jason / October 24, 2012 at 06:08 pm
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Hey Jason, Saturdays I operate on an appointment basis only. So, call me at 416-829-8127 to discuss. thanks.
Ando replying to a comment from Greg / October 24, 2012 at 06:09 pm
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Thanks a lot Greg, it's what I hope to achieve in the 'hood.
Ando replying to a comment from Dima / October 24, 2012 at 06:09 pm
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Dima, thanks my man. Much appreciated. Good to have you in today.
Ando replying to a comment from Jen / October 24, 2012 at 06:10 pm
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Thanks Jen, I'm glad someone likes the photos.
roger / October 29, 2012 at 04:53 pm
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the place is first class and i just got my haircut on sunday...see you in 3 weeks
Ando replying to a comment from roger / October 30, 2012 at 09:48 am
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Hey Roger, thanks for the words and support. Much appreciated. Look forward to next time.
Glen / November 8, 2012 at 09:07 am
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had my first cut there this week. the set-up is first rate and Anthony is great. congrats
Ando replying to a comment from Glen / November 8, 2012 at 10:31 am
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Hey Glen,

Great seeing you again. So glad you came to check out the new location. Look forward to next time, and good luck!
Jonathan / November 9, 2012 at 09:04 am
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Went for the first time yesterday and I will definitely be back. Don't expect a mindless drone and to be in-and-out in 5 minutes - Anthony clearly cares about his craft and takes the time to do the job right.
Ando replying to a comment from Jonathan / November 14, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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Mr. Kamien. Thank you for the positive feedback. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I look forward to seeing you again.
Ando / November 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm
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check out the site for updates on everything to do with men. cheers.
Ando replying to a comment from Greg / December 3, 2012 at 01:47 pm
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Hey Greg, thanks for sending Andre, Steve and Luca. Much appreciated!!!
Ando / December 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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BIG Thanks to Lauren and Jonathan for sending their friends my way.
thom / April 20, 2013 at 05:45 pm
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Ando, can't wait to try a shave.
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Ando / August 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm
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Hey LV,

It sounds like you're right out of a Russell Peters' sketch, LOL.
Andre / November 9, 2013 at 03:37 pm
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Lets not forget the kids! Ando is gentle yet persuasive with my children when in the chair. He provides a great haircut for the kids. No shave required. A+
Ando / January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm
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Hey Andre,

Much obliged for the kind words. Look forward to the next visit. Take care...
Ryan / January 26, 2014 at 02:26 pm
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With my current barber retiring and my need for a hair cut on Sunday, I looked for a new barber and came across I Barbieri. I went in wanting to have something different than in the past, so I just gave some very general guidelines. Walked out with a great hair cut (and beard trim) at a great price! I'm glad that my search for a new barber ended at my first attempt. As Arnold would say, I'll be back!
MJR / February 13, 2014 at 12:02 am
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Ando, is by far one of the most skilled, friendly and precise barbers i have ever met.

I wont be going anywhere else for a very long time. People that come to iBarbieri's end up leaving as one of Ando's friends, and you cant help not wanting to be. He is exactly who i want cutting my hair and having an espresso with.
Phil / February 20, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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Amazing guy so happy i found him came across this blog by accident, used to get my haircut by him at the shop he worked at before was so disappointed that he left that shop and the owner wouldnt obviously mentioned where he went to cant wait to get a decent haircut after 2years. super excited.
Walter / March 10, 2014 at 07:25 pm
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I was in Ando's shop earlier today and got a fantastic haircut and a great shot of espresso.

This guy knows how to cut hair, took it his time and worked out details of my hair I've never seen any barber do. I used to get my haircut at a more popular shop downtown but guy closer to me, charges less and does a better job. I will definitely be back soon, hopefully I get a chance to pet the cat next time.

-Walter.
Ando / March 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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Hey Ryan,

Thanks for the great feedback. It was a pleasure having you. Look forward to the next visit.

ando
Ando / March 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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Hey MJ,

You're the best man! Thanks. Yes, always enjoy the espresso with you and thanks for sending your friends in. Much appreciated!

ando
Ando / March 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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Hey Phil,

I'm also glad you found me. It was disappointing leaving without notice to all the guys there. Great to be cutting your hair again. Thanks!

ando
Ando / March 28, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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Hey Walter,

You've got amazing hair and it was a challenge I enjoyed. Thanks for the opportunity. Look forward to your next visit.

ando
Igor / April 5, 2014 at 05:15 pm
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It's so hard to find a good barber shop in Toronto - and I have nothing but good words about the experience at Ando's! Definitely a place you want to try.
Alex / April 12, 2014 at 03:08 pm
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The best barber by far is the the man pictured above with the red chair...Anthony of I barbieri. Not only does he have awesome cutting skills but he is a testament to the positive attitude a barber should have. Many barbers have attitudes...Anthony is a humble kind man that will change your mind about the way a barber should operate! Great shop, great cut, great attitude! I didn't express this to Anthony but I have low self esteem with regards to my skin and hair colour and I have not been "accepted" by others mentioned above. After a great chat and an even better cut...I feel better about myself. The man is a true artist and he takes great pride in his work...the biggest mistake you could make is to not go see him...do yourself a favour and go see him

Disclosure -don't know the man personally or previously
Ando / May 5, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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Hey Igor,

Thank you for the comments and for giving us the opportunity.

ando
Ando / May 5, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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Alex, those are truly sincere words. I am flattered and honoured. Glad I was able to improve the issues you mentioned. I look forward to our next meeting.

thank you,
ando
Jared / June 7, 2014 at 01:56 pm
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I went in with a terrifying mop of hair, and was greeted with notable friendliness by the easy going and respectable gentlemen working. It was a little out of the way, but at the price they can offer at the location is was unquestionably worth the small trip. They gave me a handsome cut at very comfortable pace. A perfect experiance, really.
Darrel / June 11, 2014 at 06:52 pm
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I went in with a beard I hadn't trimmed in 11 months. Ando paid great attention to detail, shaping my beard nicely while leaving the length I've worked so hard for. This was only my third professional beard trim lifetime, but by and far the best one. I definitely know where I'll be going for my next one.
Ando / June 29, 2014 at 05:46 pm
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Hey Jarod,

Some really kind words. Happy you took the time to not only go out of your way to visit us, but to also take the time to write a great review. Thank you!
Ando / June 29, 2014 at 05:48 pm
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Hey Darrel,

Very cool beard. Wish I could grow one like that. It was fun working on it! Thanks for giving us the opportunity.
Nicholas / July 19, 2014 at 03:41 pm
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Hello Anthony,my name is Nick,and I am originally from Toronto living in Athens,Greece.I grew up in Toronto and remember all of the nice friendly old barber shops,like yours whose specialty was great haircuts and close shaves.

Its great barber shops like yours are back doing well,and being patronized by all of us oldtimers(hehehehe) as well as the new generations.Keep up the good work.

One question though,the Cat,is it the store's and of so what's its name?

Ando / August 10, 2014 at 09:38 pm
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Hey Nicholas,

It pretty awesome to hear from someone on the other side of the pond. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I was in Italy last year and couldn't help but notice that the old-time barber shops have almost disappeared. Young men were going to salons and not barber shops to get their stylish cuts done. I don't know what it's like in Greece, but it looks like the resurgence to the Barber Shop culture is alive and well, and has North American barbers to thank for it.

As for the cat, his name is Elvis and he belongs to a friend.

Hope you're enjoying your summer. Take care and hope we see you in the shop when you visit Toronto.

ando

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