Barack Obamas Barber for 18 Years Still a Fixture in Chicagos Hy - KMSP-TV

Barack Obamas Barber for 18 Years Still a Fixture in Chicagos Hyde Park

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Just north of 53rd Street on South Blackstone Ave., you'll find it: nothing flashy, but inside there are stories to tell. The president's campaign poster offers a hint: the barbershop of President Barack Obama.

He goes by one name: Zariff. A fixture there for two decades, the barber first cut Barack Obama's hair nearly 18 years ago.

"There's a friendship there and trust. I can pretty much talk to him," Zarif said.

At the Democratic National Convention 2004, a still largely unknown Barack Obama delivered a rousing keynote address and a nation took notice. Zariff did too; just days before he'd given his soon-to-be famous client a new hair-style.

"I said ‘wow!’ That was the first time I checked him out. So overall it looked real good," Zariff said.

If you want your hair cut just like the president, that's an option here. But you can't sit in the chair the president used to occupy. That's been encased in Plexiglas.

An image of Muhammad Ali hangs on a back wall, a tribute to an iconic personality, who's appearances down the block where the salon used to be caused quite a commotion.

"He would talk a half hour to an hour out in front, signing autographs and boxing. He'd sit down, and it was very tough to cut his hair because he's always moving and bobbing," Zariff said.

You don't have to be famous to be welcome there For nearly 85 years, the shop has been known for great service, and according to 19-year customer Ty Darey, a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

"Congregating with everyone and just many, many great conversations with everyone throughout the years. It's just priceless, especially in a barbershop," Darey said.

In business since 1927, and they're not hurting for customers.

Zariff said to do this day, he still cuts the president's hair, but he wouldn't say how often (apparently that's classified information).

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