We did a lil Q+A with Daniela Moreira of Timber Pizza Company and Call Your Mother.
Earlier this year we launched our Women-Powered with pineapple collection, where we teamed up with pineapple collaborative to make it easy to support the lady-led spots in your area. Two of those DC and very crush-worthy spots are Timber Pizza Company and Call Your Mother, and we were really excited to sit down — okay, email back and forth — with Daniela Moreira, the head chef/partner of both (!).
You moved here from Argentina when you were twenty to learn English, right? Did you ever imagine you’d stay and run two kick-ass restaurants?
I never imagined staying longer than a year, and two restaurants? Never crossed my mind. I was just a little au pair watching after two kids my first year here. The plan was to come for one year only, learn English, and then keep traveling to work in the best restaurants in the world. I kept telling myself and my family back home, “just one more year.” I think it was my fifth year here that I finally told my dad that I wasn’t planning on coming back anytime soon.
What’s your favorite can’t-miss thing to eat when you go back to Argentina?
My mom’s cooking — she makes the best milanesas!! With Alfajores for dessert of course.
What’s your go-to dish at Timber Pizza Company — like that maybe you scarf down after a night of work?
Corn empanadas (in the summer) and the Norman pizza are my top go-tos.
How do you and your partner balance running two really popular restaurants in DC?
We work really hard, and we have the best team! We have great people that have been with us since day one! No secret sauce, just hard work and the best team!
Tell us how you guys name the bagels at Call Your Mother, please.
That’s 100% Andrew. Bagels are named after athletes and celebrities that are half Jewish … I don’t even get some of the references since I am not jewish and from Argentina.
How often do you let yourself not cook and order delivery? What do you get?
A lot, I don’t cook much at home at all. After cooking all day, I am usually too tired to cook (and clean!). Indian food from Indigo is one of the favorites.
What do you love about serving the DC crowd?
How supportive everybody is. Since we opened Timber and Call Your Mother we have a lot of repeat customers. I’m usually hiding in the kitchen, but when I get a chance to peek out, I always recognize somebody and it makes me happy to know that we are doing something good — for them to come back over and over again. I also love to see how much they are willing to stand in line and wait for us to be able to serve them.
What’s the coolest piece of press you’ve gotten lately (so we can link to it for you)?
Eater Top 16 restaurants in the country!!! Super stoked to make it into that list.
What was your first job in the food world?
Besides helping my mom and grandma in their little restaurant from a very young age, the first official (paid) job was as a bartender in a bar in my hometown, Alta Gracia. They used to serve pizza from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and then at 2 a.m.. the bar would get insanely crowded. One day the pizza cook couldn’t come in to work, and I told the owner I could do it. From that day I was a pizza cook for a couple of hours, would run home to shower and change into my bartender clothes, then serve drinks until 7:00 a.m. Those were FUN times.
Let’s pretend you didn’t go into food. What might you be doing right now?
Probably running my parents’ campground in Argentina during the summer and travelling the world the rest of the year.
What are you reading right now, food related or otherwise?
Who, a great book for hiring and learning how to spot talent and give employees the right tools to succeed.
Where are you on this NYC vs. Montreal bagel war situation? We imagine you have some (DC) thoughts.
I love all warm carbs equally — there is a time and place for everything :)
What are some food trends you’re seeing in DC (or elsewhere) that you’re excited about?
More fine-dining chefs opening fast-casual restaurants.
Anything fun on the horizon for Timber Pizza/Call Your Mother?
A Jewish tamale
Favorite DC restaurant that’s not a place you own?
If you could only eat 5 things for the rest of your life… go.
Brambleberry crisp from Jenny’s, cheeseburger from Shake Shack, shrimp, French fries from Amsterdam falafel, pizza from Vace’s, pupusas from Don juan.