1479 W. Berwyn

The comments on Yelp are pretty accurate when it comes to summing up Masters: “Yes, Mr. Shoe Fixer is cranky and old-school, but damn can he fix a pair of shoes.” “I received the most satisfying dressing-down from him this morning, and I’m still buzzing about it.” “This guy seemed put out that a customer had actually walked into his shop.” “He wasn’t nice, but he also didn’t yell.” “He’s old school and a straight shooter.” I’ve taken in shoes that the master refused to repair. He looked at them, somewhat scornfully, and said something like, “Just throw them in the garbage, not worth fixing.” And I respected that. Just recently I took in a pair of Italian shoes that needed new soles. They were a little dirty from the winter weather. The master looked at them and said, “You don’t clean?” I stammered an apology. But then he launched into a story about how his supplier in New York doesn’t carry Italian leather soles anymore, so he has to order the stuff from Italy, and it might take two weeks. He would not use less-than-worthy leather to resole my shoes. I really respect that. And I got the shoes back, two weeks later, looking gorgeous (and cleaned). The master may be gruff, but I trust him completely. —Jerome Ludwig