by Larry Austin
Kids needing a haircut before going back to school have a new old-school option.
The Real Barbers II has opened in the Grand Island Plaza, next door to M&T Bank and across from Adrian's Custard and Beef. New co-owners Richard Rosso and Cindy Montanino have taken over and kept the old-fashioned feel, both in service and atmosphere. The business is providing the only true men's barbershop on the Island.
Rosso and Montanino, both licensed master barbers, have added the Island business to The Real Barbers at 2684 Elmwood Ave. in Kenmore.
At The Real Barbers II, customers won't find stylists, curling irons, women sitting under dryers, an appointment book, or the word "spa." What they will find when they walk in are barbers, a hot lather machine, old-fashioned decor, and even a checker board.
"We're 'Real Barbers' because we do a lot of things barbers don't do anymore, like use straight edge razors, hot towel shaves," Montanino said.
One could say both Rosso and Montanino inherited their skills, having grown up with fathers and grandfathers who were also barbers. "True barbershops are like dinosaurs," Rosso said, but he, Montanino and staff barber Tom Rogers, are working to keep the cultural tradition alive.
"My dad was a barber," Montanino said. "When I think of a barbershop, I think of a boy's right of passage, a man's respite to come where he doesn't have to sit with a bunch of women in rollers, a great haircut at a lot less money, great service."
Real Barbers II clientele agree.
"A barbershop cuts your hair right," said one customer, Mike, as Montanino worked. He added that when he goes to a chain salon for a haircut, "I usually start sweating halfway through it." A 20-year military man, he said another reason to go to a barber is to get the real military cut.
The Real Barbers II has extended hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., giving the 9-to-5 workforce a chance to get a haircut on a weekday. The shop is also open Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday. Customers can call The Real Barbers II at 716-775-5781.