When the pandemic hit, Gravitas chef Matt Baker went from serving elegant prix-fixe meals at his Michelin-starred Ivy City tasting room to making comforting takeout packages of lasagna and enchiladas. “Food I would cook at home for me and my family,” says Baker. Eventually, that style of cooking inspired Baker’s Daughter, an all-day café and market across the street.
Now Baker is ready to grow the cafe concept to two new locations in DC—with a goal of more shops to come. Baker’s Daughter Chinatown debuts Monday, July 19, while a third will open in the Eaton DC hotel in August alongside finer-dining French-American restaurant, Michele’s.
For the Chinatown branch, Baker is tweaking the menu to cater to an office and tourist crowd. The 600-square-foot shop, with a few patio tables outside, will open at 8 AM daily for coffee drinks, fresh-pressed juices, and an array of fresh pastries, muffins, and breads from Gravitas pastry chef Aisha Momaney. Early risers can also grab egg sandwiches and breakfast tacos—or “more like breakfast taquitos,” says Baker, who fashioned the egg-stuffed tortillas after those at Whataburger in Baker’s native Houston. The dish looks like a small burrito and comes with fillings like egg, cheese, chorizo or sausage—or vegetarian potato and caramelized onion—and homemade fire-roasted tomato salsa.
An all-day menu boasts quickly or ready-made items like matzoh ball soup, chili, jambon-beurre baguette sandwiches, Reubens, muffalettas, salads, and bowls. There’s also snack and picnic-friendly fare like cheese and charcuterie boards (and beer and wine license are in the works). Baker plans to continue his popular line of holiday catering—whether full Thanksgiving feasts or Valentine’s breakfast in bed. True to the cafe’s roots, you’ll also be able to snag a few comforting ready-eat dishes like lasagna for dinner.
Baker’s Daughter Chinatown. 675 I St., NW. Open daily, 8 am to 8 PM.