For more than 50 years, Fausto and Emilio Ferrari left their mark on Cincinnati one haircut at a time. The Italian-born immigrants operated a three-chair barbershop on Garfield Place downtown where Queen City natives flocked to receive the Ferrari treatment.
Fausto retired shortly before Emilio died in 2015, leaving the future of the shop up in the air. Without the two men who started it all, the family considered selling it.
Eventually, two of Emilio’s grandchildren, Austin and Tony Ferrari, decided to step in. Their idea? Introduce an authentic Italian coffee menu to the space to bring business into the retro downtown barbershop.
“We want to keep the love going,” Tony says. “I mean, my family here knew everybody. Fausto and Emilio took care of the community, took care of all the city officials. So we just want to keep that going.”
Austin and Tony grew up in Cincinnati before college and business ventures took them out west. They’re entrepreneurs in their own right — Tony owns a highly regarded Italian restaurant in San Francisco called Hillside Supper Club, where Austin works as a sommelier. The two also own Provender Coffee & Food in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill.
Carrying their coffee expertise over to the Queen City, Tony and Austin have added an Italian La Marzocco espresso machine in the window of the barbershop. They won’t serve food, instead focusing on Italian classics — espresso, cappuccinos, lattes — using local roster Deeper Roots Coffee.
“We support them; they support us,” Austin says of Deeper Roots. “We’re happy supporting Cincinnati and the community.”
Pulling from a classic at the San Francisco coffee shop, the menu will include a drink called the Gibraltar — a double shot of espresso poured over milk, similar to a cortado.
The brothers believe adding coffee to the mix will bode well for the shop’s success, allowing them to continue what Emilio and Fausto started without hardship. They’ve updated the business’s name to Ferrari Barbershop and Coffee Co.
“We just looked at it as not only keeping it open, keeping the family legacy, but we also wanted to make it a business venture,” Tony says. “If the doors are going to be open, we might as well make it successful.”
Tony and Austin didn’t go crazy renovating the space, preferring to maintain the nostalgia it started with. All three barber chairs have been reupholstered for a clean look and feel, but the walls are still covered with old photos and postcards that speak to the shop’s history and the two barbers who started it all.
Unlike the Ferrari brothers before them, Tony and Austin will not cut hair at the barbershop — they’ll give other barbers an opportunity to rent the three chairs. The two will instead split their time between San Francisco and Cincinnati to manage the shop and maintain their responsibilities in the Bay Area.
A few local barbers have already lined up to start cutting hair for the Ferrari brothers and are expected to begin using their shears in the next few weeks. Running a majority of the day-to-day options, Ferrari’s barbers will be dishing out straight-razor shaves, cappuccinos and memorable conversations to anyone and everyone.
“Everyone is welcome in this place,” Tony says. “Come in for a haircut, come in for a coffee, come look at the memorabilia. Just come in chat with us about memories. We love that.”
Aaron Mucha, a recent graduate of the Cincinnati School of Barbering, will man his barber chair Tuesday through Saturday starting the first week of November. Haircuts start at $20 for a standard cut.
“They’re great guys,” Mucha says of the Ferrari brothers. “They almost seem like family already.”
Ferrari Barbershop & Coffee Co. is located at 5 Garfield Place, Downtown. More info: www.ferraribarbercoffeeco.com.