"Would you call the 49ers a dynasty?" Nate says from behind his chair. "I would."
The successful teams of the Montana-Rice era — and the one that followed with Steve Young at quarterback — had appeal well beyond San Francisco.
Ravens running back Ray Rice, born in 1987, grew up just a few miles from New York City. But he said this week that he was a 49ers fan as a kid.
We assume Ray is a Ravens fan now.
But Nate's first choice is still the one that wears red and gold.
"It's loyalty," he says. "The 49ers are my team."
"Everyone can't be perfect," ribs Natalyn Edwards, a customer and Ravens fan.
"I just believe you stay with your team," Nate says. "You got to be consistent — consistent in your team, and consistent in cutting hair."
I tell him I appreciate that view, especially the hair part.
Darlene, his girlfriend, accepts that Nate was a 49ers fan before they met, and there's not much she can do about it.
"It's not like he's a Steelers fan," she says. "I would never date anyone who's a Steelers fan."
When it became clear that the 49ers and Ravens would be Super Bowl opponents, Darlene and Nate held hands at Zen West, the bar and restaurant on York Road, and agreed: "May the best team win."
There will be no hard feelings, she says.
And Darlene won't be wearing Nate's red slippers.
She bought a pair of her own, and they're purple.