A Trip To The Southside: Gyros & Hot Lather Shaves

Peen, Tim and I took a field trip to the southside of Chicago today. You see, Peen is a barber. She works in her dad's shop in Calumet City, Rich's Den, and has worked there since she was 15 years old. It's quite the charming little spot with an eclectic clientele, coming in from the surrounding area and Indiana. One of Peen's specialties is the hot lather shave with a straight razor - you know, the old fashioned way of getting your face as smooth as a baby's bottom - and Tim had been hankering to try this method for quite some time. So today was the big day.

First stop on the drive south was historical Pullman. This neighborhood was once entirely built and owned by the Pullman rail car company. The 4-5 block radius that makes up central Pullman, is full of row house-style residences. It was an interesting stop-off on the way to the shave.

A mural of the Pullman train cars, in Pullman, of all places

Then we were off to Rich's Den for the main event. This place has charm and character for miles with knick-knacks covering every surface, police memorabilia on the counter tops, and family photos covering the walls. It felt cozy (remember Peen, if you need a shop manager...), like a family-run business should feel. It made me jealous that my family didn't run a business together(I think...). More to come on the shave itself from the recipient, Tim, but here are some photos of the grooming process, up close and personal.

Finally, on to Pano's Big Boy, right down the road. They have, according to Peen, the best gyros in town. Apparently, the original Pano's burnt down years ago and the day it reopened, people waited in 3-hour lines to get their gyro fix. And while gyros aren't for me, all of the accompaniments surely are, so the woman behind the counter, without batting an eye, agreed to make me a vegetarian gyro platter with feta, a toasted pita, onions, a handful of Kalamata olives, pickled pepperoncini peppers and my favorite condiment, tatziki. It was some of the best fast food I've had in ages, and both Tim and Peen agreed it was worth the hype.

So if you're ever hankering for a straight razor shave from one of the best barbers in Chicago, head down to Rich's Den in Calument City, IL and cap off your day with a trip to Pano's. As they say, a southside adventure is the best way to spend a Sunday. (Ok, I just made that up but I think it's true!)

Be sure to check out Peen's barber stories on NPR's Vocalo radio HERE. You'll hear poignant and funny stories about her life as a barber.


Sarah said...

awesome post! but where are the "after" photos?

Shannon Darling Dearest said...

The first picture is actually the "after". I really liked it so I wanted to start the post off with Tim's shaved mug. Tim's post will have more info on the shave!

dapeen said...

I wish we had audio of Tim getting the hot towels on his face and going, "mmmmmmmmm". Like he was eating a tasty cake cake or something... You guys are my little darlings!

Shaq Attaq said...

um, THE best barber in Chicago! Hello!! Not "one of the best."