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From angel-hair to the barber's chair

Arthur Alfinito once served some of the Rogue Valley's best lasagna, manicotti, cannelloni and just about anything else Italian.

Now the former proprietor of Rudolfo's on East Main Street has traded in his menu and old-world ambiance for a barber's chair and scissors.

The 42-year-old, who grew up near orchards and berry patches in Sunnyvale, Calif., abruptly left the restaurant business in December 2000. He entered Phagan's Medford Beauty School and graduated last month.

I always worked well with the public and was hands-on and personal, Alfinito says. I can make great Italian food, but I'm a good hair cutter, too. I like unpredictability of who comes through the door every day and the stories they tell.

— Art's Barber Shop is at 232 Sixth St. in southwest corner of the Holly Theatrecq

building, which his father has owned since 1996.

The unisex barber/stylist's grand opening is 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday6/7

. Guitarist Paul Kachel will be entertaining. The shop will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Haircuts are &

36;12.

I'm where I want to be for the next 10 years, Alfinito says. I hope I can make enough money to make sound real estate investments.

The Alfinito family moved to the Rogue Valley from the Bay area in 1987. Previously they had operated Rudolfo's in Palo Alto, Calif., for more than 30 years and Lupos in San Francisco 20 years before that. A few years later, the family bought the old Armando's restaurant and contents at auction for &

36;14,000.

Rudolfo's popularity proved to be double-edged. Alfinito worked seven days a week at the 703 E. Main St. restaurant and built a clientele that regularly waited in line on Friday nights. But he also had to deal with spillover from neighboring drug houses that he says have since been cleaned up; hours spent at the restaurant undermined his marriage.

As commercial developments on the perimeter of town brought chain restaurants and other competitors to town, Alfinito decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

In November 2000, He sold his &

36;1,400 monthly lease and restaurant contents to Clayton Noho Marchesi for &

36;50,000.

I'm on the rebound now, Alfinito says. I couldn't see myself not working with the public.

Reach reporter at 776-4463 or e-mail

Arthur Alfinito may be more familiar to Medford residents for his cannelloni at Rudolfo?s, but he?s back in business as a barber in the old Holly Theatre. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven