Daniela Moreira

Work harder! Hard work is still undefeated, that is why I get up so early everyday–you have to work very, very hard to make it in this industry.


A 2018 James Beard Rising Star Semifinalist and 2017 Eater Young Guns award-winner, Daniela Moreira is the Executive Chef of DC’s award-winning Timber Pizza Co. and buzzed about new sister restaurant, Call Your Mother, (a Jew-ish deli). Daniela grew up in Argentina learning to cook alongside her mother who provided meals for the family’s summer campground. After moving to the United States at the age of 20 to learn English, Daniela won a scholarship to attend the Culinary Institute of America, which then led to an internship at New York City’s iconic Eleven Madison Park. In 2015, Daniela moved to Washington, D.C., where she met Andrew Dana and Chris Brady, Co-Owners of Timber Pizza Co., in a blue 1967 Chevy truck that they parked at local farmers’ markets. The rest is history.

Since opening with Daniela at the helm, Timber Pizza Co. has received national acclaim including being named a 2019 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand award-winner, a 2017 best new restaurant and 2017 Pizzeria of the Year by Bon Appetit, and topped lists of best pizzerias by The Washington Post Express, Washingtonian, etc. Call Your Mother, which opened in October, was named one of the Most Anticipated Restaurants in D.C. for Fall 2018 and has already been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, and more.

Where did the idea for Call Your Mother come from?

Call Your Mother was born out of the idea that my business partner, Andrew Dana, and I love wood fired baking. Our pizza concept (Timber Pizza Co.) was going great, and we were looking for a new creative outlet. We both had lived in New York, and loved the idea of baking bagels. We thought by adding wood-fired baking to the concept, we could create something very cool!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There are no typical days! This industry is different every single day–especially with our many operations. Somedays I am baking bagels for the deli, some days I am cooking for supper clubs, and some days I am trying to figure out how to fix the ice machine! I have to wear a lot of different hats, but that is what makes this job so much fun.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Trial and Error! Andrew and I are always kicking around new ideas, and we find inspiration everywhere (travel, books, tv). We also love trying new stuff. You don’t know what will work until you try it!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Healthy eating! There are all sort of new concepts opening up for delicious plant based meals. My current favorite is Dirt, a restaurant from Miami that just opening in the DC area.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I get up very early. Even days I am not baking, I try to get up around 4:30-5:00. Those couple of hours before the rest of the world wakes up is when I am at my most productive.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Worry less about the fine dining route. Find what foods and activities you are passionate about and go after it.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

French Fries should be dipped in mayo not ketchup!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Work harder! Hard work is still undefeated, that is why I get up so early everyday–you have to work very, very hard to make it in this industry.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Andrew and I place our businesses in residential neighborhoods. We are trying to build restaurants that can be around for generations — the heartbeat of the neighborhood. It is easy to open in high traffic areas and have this “buzzy” opening, but we are looking for long term sustainability.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I had trouble early on with my tone when talking to staff that was not doing their job. So, like everything else, I just worked really hard at it. Talking to people with respect is very important, so I always remind myself of that.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Austin-style breakfast tacos. We just came back from a trip to Austin and ate them everyday. Why is nobody doing that in DC?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

New shoes! I am on my feet so much, so comfortable shoes are very important. I just got a pair of New Balances that match Call Your Mother’s pink and turquoise interior and are so comfortable!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Wunderlist. It is how I stay organized and make sure I am doing everything on my to-do list. There are lots of things that would slip through the cracks if it was not for that app.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Radical Candor. A lot of the stuff in the book is common sense, but we don’t always do it. It is about giving and receiving real feedback in real time. Communication is so key in this industry and this book does a great job of painting that picture.

What is your favorite quote?

“Creativity comes from making things work”

Key Learnings:

  • Working hard is the key to success in growing your business.
  • Find people that support you in your goals.
  • Never give up on yourself. If you’re feeling down, keep pushing!