When restaurateur Un Kim took over a West Baltimore diner in 1994, the 24-7 joint’s decor included simple booths and plastic plates. Over the years, Kim has transformed the eatery into a temple of kitsch, amassing a dazzling collection of pop culture paraphernalia.
Now, mannequins rule the roost. They lean against the walls, jutting out their flirtatious hips; they glisten in suits made of buttons and scales made of eyes; they twist under the weight of mobs of plastic toys; and they lounge on the lawn like psychedelic gnomes. Meanwhile, plastic limbs search for their owners and carousel horses hang overhead like the ponies of paranoid dreams. Quirky, at times creepy, Papermoon is definitely distinct.
Kim transformed the barebones eatery into a destination alongside her friend, designer David Briskie. They scour nearby second-hand shops to create an ever-changing display that Kim calls “living art.” Customers have gotten in on the game, with one former Pez dispenser manufacturer so tickled by the place, he gifted the diner his personal Pez collection.
There are plenty of offbeat favorites to be found on the menu, as well. Papermoon serves a lengthy list of sandwiches and snacks, Southern staples such as shrimp and grits, breakfast classics (served all day), and creative milkshakes, including bacon and Cap’n Crunch varieties.