By Riley Blevins @Riley_Blevins
12:04 PM CDT, May 24, 2013
Walk past a row of four shoe-shining chairs raised on a wooden stage. Take a right. Front and center, a fireplace flickers.
A leather ottoman sits next to it, shelving everything from Playboy, Fortune and Sports Illustrated magazines.
Within an arm’s reach, there’s sharp-edged furniture and a red-felt pool table.
Look to your left. There’s a bar.
Four stools wait. Bottles of liquor glow on glass shelves. Margarita glasses are displayed like Little League trophies.
Above the bar, a large metal sign accompanied with a speared olive reads “316 Club.”
On top of it all, there’s a wall-sized chalkboard displaying NHL and NBA playoff odds. Pictures of cars and framed jerseys are everywhere. TVs sit in every corner.
It feels like Las Vegas packed into a 2,800-square-foot shop.
But the menu here displays haircuts and spa features, not drinks and showtimes.
A run-of-the-mill haircut here will run you about $55.
It’s not the kind of place Carmelo Preiti, the general manager and barber at 316 Club Barber Spa, expects to see many college kids. It’s a little above their pay grade.
But then again, how many times do you get the opportunity to have your hair cut and styled by the same guy who constructed Patrick Kane’s famed playoff mullet?
For that lone reason, Periti, who has been cutting Kane’s hair for four years now, was visited by an usual costumer.
Last week, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student drove the odd 2 hours and 30 minutes to the spa.
He wasn’t from Chicago. He had no other visitation plans other than to see Periti.
“He told me, ‘I just wanted to get my hair cut by the same barber that Kane used once in my life,’ ” Periti said with a chuckle. “I told him he was a true fan.”
While Periti said it was an unusual occasion, the attention isn’t.
Ever since the 36-year-old styled Kane’s mullet in 2010--the year the ‘Hawks hoisted the Stanley Cup--the attention has been coming in buckets.
Newspapers, TV crews, radio stations, websites--you name it.
And it all started with a simple joke.
Periti had been cutting Kaner’s hair since training camp in 2009. The Hawks’ right wing was growing his hair out by the time playoffs rolled around.
“I just told him we should do something fun with it,” Periti said. “We both kinda laughed.”
Periti thought the duo was still in joking mode when he pulled up a picture of Jaromir Jager’s shoulder-length mullet from the ’90s.
Kane laughed, then got his hair trimmed and styled--same old, same old.
But the next time Kane sank into Periti’s chair, he did so with a grin.
“Let’s do it,” Periti recalls the hockey star saying.
“[bleep]” Periti recalls thinking.
He’d never done a mullet before.
He told Kane to hold on. He went and examined a few photos before he started chopping away.
“Yeah, I was nervous. I was sweating,” Periti said. “I knew this would blow up. It was just like anything, you’re always going to be nervous the first time doing something.”
Forty minutes of precision snipping later and the mullet was complete.
Kane was satisfied.
But of course he was. Cutting hair is in Periti’s blood.
The die-hard Blackhawks fan--who refers to the team as “we” and currently sports a playoff beard much fuller than Kane’s--arrived in the States from Italy when he was 6 years old.
His father has been cutting hair for 57 years. Currently, he owns a barber shop in Franklin Park.
“I grew up around it,” Periti said. “While I was in grade school I’d sit in the back of his barber shop because it was a block down from my school. I waited there for my mom to pick me up.
“I watched, watched and watched in that shop, but I guess it never sunk in.”
Initially, Periti didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps.
Far from it, in fact.
Periti went to college and receive a degree in engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He worked at an engineering firm for five years.
“I just hated it,” Periti said. “I looked back at my dad and everything he had, and I thought, ‘What a great business. What am I doing?’”
And as Periti likes to say, “One thing led to another.”
Since, Periti has constructed all three of Kaner’s mullets and even done one for Brandon Saad.
Today, an article on Periti’s mullet-making abilities hangs in his dad’s shop.
“My dad gets a kick out of it all,” Periti said.
In his still budding scissor-wielding career, Periti has been charged with the knee-shaking tasks of straight-razoring Kerry Woods’ goatee and trimming Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s mustache and eyebrows--to name a few.
And if there's any activity that'll put hair on your playoff-bearded face, it's playing with sharp objects next to Quenneville's iconic 'stache and 'brows.
“Asking a customer to get his eyebrows and mustache trimmed is standard practice, so I asked [Quenneville],” Periti said. “At first he was like, ‘Nah.’ But a few seconds later he goes, ‘You know what, no one’s ever asked me that before. Do it. Just be careful.’
"When he said that, I wanted to tell him I was joking. I barely touched it. But really, doing all this stuff, it’s all been so fun.”
But the mullet-fun has been limited to Kane and Saad.
Outside those two, no one has come into the shop asking for the Kane special.
As a joke, Periti even posted a fake ad on the spa's Facebook page. It shows a picture of Kane (obviously with a freshly groomed mullet) and reads "$5 Mullet. Make Your Appointment Today."
"I've had some people ask about a mullet, but that's it. They ask, then back out," Periti said. "A mullet definitely takes some commitment. Heck, I may even do it for free if some guy came in and actually did it."
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