Any Day Now, the anticipated Navy Yard newcomer from tenured D.C. chef and restaurateur Tim Ma, puts all its eggs into one daytime sandwich to start.
The polished, 75-seat cafe breathes fresh life into the old home of ABC Pony, Erik Bruner-Yang’s Italian-Asian hotspot that closed in 2022 at the foot of the snazzy Novel South Capitol apartment complex (2 I Street SE).
Any Day Now’s opening menu goes all in on scallion-pancake sandwiches stacked with egg and American cheese ($9.50 each). Options include homemade maple-sage sausage, cured bacon, or fermented kimchi (vegetarian), with two more varieties on the way once the cafe finds its footing.
“We’re just going to be really, really good at one thing, and that is going to be it for now,” says Ma. “We sold the landlord on just a few things, and this [sandwich] was one of them.”
Come July, the coworking-friendly cafe by day plans to transition into a full-service restaurant and bar after 5 p.m. For now, breakfast and lunch is served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Thursday, June 1.
The all-day global comfort foods spot represents a culmination of Ma’s past portfolio, pulling elements from his Maple Ave in Vienna, Virginia, Kyirisan in Shaw, and Eaton DC downtown. As executive chef of the hotel from 2018 to 2021, he oversaw its lobby-level anchor restaurant American Son — the critically acclaimed ode to his Chinese-American heritage — as well as Kintsugi cafe, rooftop hangout Wild Days, and lobby-level cocktail bar Allegory. (Chef Matt Baker has since taken over Eaton’s restaurant and cafe spaces.)
Any Day Now’s coffee and espresso program is fueled by Red Rooster Coffee, the Floyd, Virginia roaster that was also Ma’s partner at Kintsugi.
“Red Rooster has a great following but not a large presence here,” says Ma. Any Day Now’s caffeinated drinks include homemade cold brew and lattes that loop in matcha green tea and golden turmeric. Outsourced croissants, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and other pastries are also available.
Any Day Now’s chef de cuisine and partner Matt Sperber is a trained butcher who most recently cooked at nearby Navy Yard standby Salt Line.
Making sandwiches from scratch means there may be “a little scarcity” day to day, Ma says. In other words, get there early. The kitchen rolls its own scallion pancakes, steams the eggs, and prepares all the meats and fiery kimchi daily.
“Everything on this plate we’re making in-house,” says Sperber, pointing to the trio of opening sandwiches.
For dinner, Sperber plans to tap into the greasy-spoon culture of his New Jersey home state. Cheffed-up takes on diner fare includes an omelet with white truffle, caviar, and potato chips; a spin on chicken-and-waffles; Korean-fried chicken; riffs on mozzarella sticks; and okonomiyaki waffles served with homemade barbecue sauce and white miso-ranch dressing.
The wraparound glass counter will be filled with slices of double-chocolate, coconut, ube, and carrot cake, alongside seasonal pies. Shelves near the register are stocked with retail items like cards, flowers, plants, and bags of Red Rooster Coffee.
White neon-lit “Any Day Now” signage faces South Capitol Street SE, and around the corner out front, a rippled lenticular logo reveals a day-to-night image to remind passers-by of its all-day ethos.
ABC’s high-top tables near the curved bar were scratched in lieu of lower-level lounge seating, a la Allegory. Private dining nooks built out in the back add more seats to the equation. The entire restaurant was bifurcated to provide a multi-use experience, shifting from a coworking and walk-up counter vibe by day to restaurant and cocktail bar by night.
Any Day Now marks Ma’s first full-service venture since his days at American Son. In 2020, Ma co-founded Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate with chef Kevin Tien of now-closed Moon Rabbit. Ma says he’s picked up some of Tien’s displaced employees at Any Day Now. Much of Ma’s staff also hails from his alma mater Momofuku.
“I do have somewhat of a dream team,” says Ma, noting he’s stepping into more of a restaurateur (over chef) role these days.
Ma is also the co-founder of Laoban Dumplings, which is now in 1,500 grocery aisles like Whole Foods and Sprouts. He also rebooted his sandwich shop Chase the Submarine at Pentagon Row and plans to keep expanding his American-Chinese takeout enterprise Lucky Danger. Also on tap for the busy entrepreneur: unveiling sports bar ExPat and airy hangout Hippo Taco at Western Market’s Foggy Bottom food hall.