“Shave And A Hair Cut: Two Bits”

Boston Barber Company on Salem Street has come a long way since the 1899 Charles Hale song ‘At a Darktown Cakewalk’ was first published.

The North End's unique businesses bring people from all over the world to this neighborhood. So North End Patch will be featuring one each week -- whether a restaurant, florist, smoke shop or salon. Let us know if there's a particular one you'd like to read about in this weekly series.

Gentlemen: You’ll find more services available than a haircut at Boston Barber Company on Salem Street.

Want to extend your tan a bit longer? Would you care for a cup of espresso? How about getting that tattoo you’ve always wanted?

This seemingly out of the way barbershop has you covered. The minute you walk down the steps of 113 Salem Street and in the door, you immediately know you’re not in just the typical shave-and-a-haircut kind of place.

What makes this shop special?

Owner Robert Dello Russo opened the shop in January 2007 with a vision to create a business with the usual services plus a bit more.

Today, he is proud that the dream finally came true.

For about a year and a half, Robert has been working to obtain the necessary permission for offering tattoos. He was pleased to receive unanimous approval recently from the North End Waterfront Residents Association and the North End Waterfront Council as well as the Zoning Board for a glass-enclosed private space in the rear of the barbershop where the tattoo artist will work.

 “We’re the only barbershop in the North End – and Massachusetts for that matter – that offers tattoos,” he said. “No one has ever done a barbershop with a café, tanning booths and tattoos in this state.”

And people of all types come into Boston Barber Company.

“This shop is like the staple of the North End,” Robert said. “There are people of all ages and walks of life here who all get along.”

Why the North End?

Robert was born and raised here. He still lives on Fleet Street.

“This is my home,” he said. “So when I wanted to start my own business, this was the obvious place.”

Robert is third-generation. His mother came to this country from Sicily; his father (whose family came to the North End from Avellino, Italy) was born and raised on Endicott Street; and the family owned Dello Russo Funeral Home.

“We have a lot of young barbers here and we get a lot of students, young professionals and the old-timers who come to me because they’ve known me and my family their entire lives,” Robert said.

Robert said he often misses the feeling of the old neighborhood but he welcomes change.

My business would not flourish without changing tastes,” he said.

Favorite experience since opening the shop

That’s an easy one for Robert to remember.

The morning after the Boston Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup, Robert got a call (at 8:30 a.m. to be precise) from Milan Lucic and Johnny Boychuk.

“They said they just got off the plane and needed to get their beards off,” Robert said. So they met Robert and walked together to the shop (stopping along the way to pick up some food and beer).

“There was a huge crowd outside, begging for autographs,” Robert said. “So I locked the doors and pulled down the shades to give the guys some privacy.”

On October 3, 2011, Robert opened the ESPN Boston issue. He knew Milan had asked the ESPN writer to have the interview and photo shoot with the team inside 113 Salem Street.

Robert flipped through the issue, thinking there would be a tiny news brief or perhaps a small photo.

Instead, he turned page after page with photos of the team in Boston Barber Company.

“Milan chose the shop for the shoot,” Robert said. “He said it’s his favorite place in the North End.”

Robert also opened a branch of Boston Barber Company at 124 Bowdin Street in Beacon Hill. For additional information, visit www.bostonbarber.com or call 617-742-0611 and 617-263-0150.


Therese D October 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM
you're Best interview/story yet! This is what makes the North End, The North End! The life long North Enders who stay and build here - are what keep the neighborhood with the flavor/style it has always been known and loved for! And are overlooked so often.....


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