One and a half years since its opening in Mid-City, Paper or Plastik has transformed the otherwise bland, somewhat run-down strip of Pico Boulevard into a bustling destination for urnabites with a passion for coffee, dance, and art.
Opened by dance enthusiast and instructor Yasha Michelson, Paper or Plastik is one of many cafes riding the tide of new wave coffeehouses here in L.A. Part dance studio, part café (and a small part eclectic gift shop, in an upstairs room), this place transcends quiet study haven or yuppie cappuccino stop and becomes something else entirely.
The building is log cabin-meets-industrial loft, as though Portland and Berlin got together and decided to throw a tea party. The feeling in the café is firm, comfortable, with a homey lived-in feel; Paper or Plastik has established roots in its short time in this community, and there’s an air of solid lasting power inside.
The specialty here is, of course, coffee—Intelligentsia, Ecco Caffe, Handsome Coffee Roasters, and Coava—and it’s brewed craftfully by not only skilled but also honestly friendly folk. Forget the high and mighty vibe of snooty coffeehouses like Silverlake’s Lamill; at Paper or Plastik, the staff is laid-back and genuinely welcoming.
While the café once catered some of its food selection from locally based Heirloom, today it’s getting its noshes from a number of other local sources like the delightful Cake Monkey Bakery. They’re also making a number of dishes in-house, like the mini-baguette with pepperoni, ricotta, and fruit jam we sampled during our visit. It’s hard to go wrong with the selection of bites here, as most things run under five dollars and go hand-in-hand with a hot cup of joe.
Paper or Plastik might not yet be the high-ticket destination that new wave coffee leaders Cafecito Organico or Lamill are to L.A., but its first-rate coffees, scrumptious food selection, and down to earth vibe will keep us coming back to this urban oasis for a welcome break from the usual.
Paper or Plastik
5772 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019