Story: Brittany Twyman
Multimedia: Garland Young

A pink and blue cow with bedazzled utters and a lime green rider stands watch outside of a green and blue pinstriped building. A red elephant wrapped in Christmas lights perches on top of the roof.

Photo by:Garland Young

Papermoon Diner is not your typical diner. Guests are greeted with bright colors and an army of metal and ivy wrapped mannequins. Tonka trucks, miniature fighter jets and army men adorn the moon on the sign of the diner, as well as on the walls both in and out of the restaurant.  It is the place where names are called over a loudspeaker and yellow tubs and blue toilets pose as flower pots.

The menu is just as eccentric as its decor. Bacon milkshakes and peanut butter and jelly french toast are just two of the unique items that can be found on the list. Their website describes the cuisine as “comfort food meets Baltimore with a twist.”

Baltimore residents Cayti Abbott and Paul Butler come to Papermoon Diner at least once every two weeks.
Both Abbott and Butler agree that Papermoon epitomizes Baltimore with its “utter insanity.”

“This place [is] just tucked into an otherwise beige and grey neighborhood,” Abbott said.  “It’s just this explosion of color!”

“Yeah that’s very Baltimore,” Butler added.

David Briskie, a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, designed the style of the restaurant to not only create a comfortable atmosphere, but to spark conversations.

“I love eye candy, eye candy is like it to me,”Briskie said.”I think when you walk into a place, especially a restaurant when you’re waiting for food or eating, it’s interesting to see things from your past, which creates the conversations at the table and you start talking about stuff you might not necessarily talk about.”

Briskie started designing after he graduated from MICA in 1987. He started designing his friends restaurants because there were not many jobs for artists at the time.

Briskie does not use blueprints for his designs. Most of his creations just happen. The design for Papermoon is based on a hobby shared between Briskie and Un Kim, the owner of Papermoon Diner.

“Un and I are very old friends and we are big toy collectors,” Briskie said. “We had a lot of stuff to begin with. She started a restaurant and it kind of morphed into that [Papermoon].”

Since the diner first opened in 1993 the designing of the building has been ongoing. The original building took a week to paint and design. Over the years, a front eating area has been added along with more toys and mannequins.

“[Kim] was looking for a place that people could hangout that was fun and hip,” Briskie said. “We’re talking 1993, so [Papermoon] was very different for the time. When we first opened people were freaking out because of all of the colors. There was nothing painted like that.”

Briskie stated that the decorations set Papermoon apart from other diners in the area, and customers agree.
“It’s aesthetically pleasing and over the top and fantastic, and the wait staff is interesting,” Catyi Abbott said. “You don’t just have one waiter or waitress, everyone is just kind of taking care of you. It’s a friendly place to be.”


One thought on “Quirky Diner, Quirkier Decor

  1. Yesterday an old friend from Pennsylvania, who had a stroke 10 years ago and can’t talk, was driven down here by the woman who watches over her, and I took them to Paper Moon. She loves to look at things, her mind is all there, just not the speech part, and she was enraptured by David Briskie’s wonderful assemblages. And they loved the food too!

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