Where’s Bawlmer’s Best Cafe At, Hon?

Pink Flamingo on the Cafe Hon

Pink Flamingo on the Cafe Hon

On “The Avenue (36th Street)” in Hampden, Baltimore’s notorious working class neighborhood turned popular kitsch central, there’s an enormous pink flamingo towering over the entrance of Café Hon.

The restaurant/cultural center is the brainchild of Denise Whiting, who serves up good ole home style cooking like “Much Better Than Mom’s” meatloaf, blue plate specials, hot roast beef with mashed potatoes and warm bread pudding. For breakfast, there’s coffee with “Hon Buns” and cinnamon rolls nearly as big as your head! The kid friendly menu ensures that everyone will be able to find something they love to eat – everything from spaghetti to cheeseburgers. Café Hon is classic American food at its best.

For non-locals unfamiliar with “Bawlmerese,” in the specific dialect of the neighborhood, a “hon” is a very stylish woman, typically sporting a beehive hairdo, chiffon trimmed dress, and horn rimmed glasses. She grew up in Baltimore, goes “downyOhshun” (down to the ocean) in August and basically keeps AquaNet hairspray in business.

The origin of the word “hon” as it is used on The Avenue dates back to the early 1950’s and is a shortened version of the term of endearment “honey,” which waitresses at local diners use to greet their favorite customers.

Miss Denise, the owner and one of Baltimore’s most dedicated hons, also opened The Hon Bar next door to the café.

The Hon Bar is a fun spot where friends gather to tip back a Natty Boh beer, slurp some raw “ersters” (oysters) and listen to live music.

Denise Whiting is also the founder of “The Baltimore’s Best Hon Contest” which has grown into a popular one day festival, aptly titled “HonFest” that celebrates all things “Bawlmer.” Each year, thousands of people make the pilgrimage to The HonFest to enter the Hon Contest, play “Hon”Opoly, hoof it in the “Hon Run,” get an extreme makeover Hon style at The Glamour Lounge, visit The Hairdo Museum and feast on local delicacies like pork and beer.

The nostalgic demand for everything “Hon” prompted Miss Denise to develop a line of Hon products such as shot glasses, bumper stickers, mugs, and t-shirts that are sold at the Café and other novelty shops in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“I just love that people in Baltimore are so enthusiastic about preserving our local color, flavor, eccentricities or whatever you want to call it,” says Ms. Whiting. “The Baltimore Hon is truly unique to our hometown and just calling people ‘hon’ always brings a smile.”

Over the years, Goldman & Minton has helped Ms. Whiting with her business by administering trademark clearance and registration for her novelty items and providing intellectual property licensing consultation.

G&M is also enthusiastic and proud to spread a little local pride while helping to build unique and successful businesses like Café Hon.

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