There may be no better way to end a weekend than by paying a visit to the Cafe Hon in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. After driving seven hours home from the Catskills this past weekend, I was starving, and recalculated the iPhone map to direct me to the eclectic eatery. Replete with a life-sized Elvis statue, a rack of neon sunglasses, and enough beehive hairdos to make you think you’re an extra in Hairspray, this high-ceilinged restaurant anchors funky 36th Street and is easy to find thanks to the huge pink flamingo hung outside. Inside, the restaurant, with its attached bar next door, serves up a mix of American comfort foods with a Maryland twist. (One favorite element: the menu offers its own dictionary of ‘Bawlmerese’.) I ordered the crab and shrimp pizza (which comes laden with cheddar cheese) and some mussels along with my cream of crab soup. So stuffed was I that I had to skip the pie, which I later learned was a huge mistake.
So what is a Hon anyway? The cafe’s website defines it: “[T]he Bawlmer term of endearment, Hon, short for Honey, embodies the warmth and affection bestowed upon our neighbors and visitors alike by historic working-women of Baltimore.” (And yes, my waitress utilized the phrase multiple times during our meal.) Every year, the restaurant’s proprietor, Denise Whiting, holds the annual HonFest (pictured, above), a celebration of these women and their role in the community. This event basically manifests itself in the form of beehive hairdos, blue eyeshadow, leopard skin tights, and funky sunglasses, and appears, from the many photos, to be a complete hoot. HonFest just passed two weekends ago, but mark your calendars for next June.
Cafe Hon, 1002 W. 36th Street Baltimore, MD +1 410 243 1230
Photo: Hip2bDaniel via the Intelligent Travel Flickr pool
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