Gonzalo Di Laudo was bartending at his uncle’s restaurant, Divino Lounge, when he hatched a plan for a pizza place serving the grilled pies of his native Buenos Aires. He partnered with Divino’s owners and opened Pizza Zero (4925 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 240-497-0751) on a Bethesda side street last spring.
Di Laudo moved from Argentina to this area five years ago, and now lives in Silver Spring with his wife, Carla. Soon there will be a new little face in Pizza Zero’s family-friendly dining room—the Di Laudos are expecting their first child in March.
Before the dinner rush, Di Laudo talked with us about some of his food favorites, from American breakfasts to Argentinian meat extravaganzas.
Favorite pizza toppings: Argentine sausage and chimichurri sauce. That’s our La Portena pizza. Portena is what people in Buenos Aires are called, like people from Washington are called Washingtonians. That’s my favorite, and also our most popular pizza here.
Favorite empanada fillings: Spinach with fresh mozzarella. I always ate it back home in Buenos Aires.
What are your fridge staples? We have chicken and steaks. We have salad because we mix the majority of our meat with a salad. My wife is from Puerto Rico, so she makes all kinds of Puerto Rican food. I like rice and beans, and pork chops. We also have a lot of juices.
Favorite local restaurant: I love an Italian place, Olazzo, in Bethesda. Fettuccine Alfredo and chicken Milanese. Unbelievable, really.
Favorite junk food: I love cheeseburgers. I’ve been doing research on where is the best cheeseburger. For me, it’s Cafe Deluxe.
Favorite family dish: It’s called parrillada—different combinations of grilled meat, sausage, blood sausage. Everybody in Argentina makes it with different combinations of meats. Every Sunday, we used to cook that with the family—we went to my grandmother’s house. When you have a big event, you cook that for 10 people, 20 people.
Favorite breakfast: Usually on the weekends I eat a really American breakfast, but during the week I never have time—just coffee. On weekends, I love eggs, bacon, French toast. I’ve had a really good breakfast at Savannah’s on Connecticut Avenue and University Boulevard.
Drink of choice: Wine. And I love a Puerto Rican rum called Donq. With Coke, it’s a perfect Cuba Libre.
Favorite dessert: I’m really not a dessert guy, so I usually do an after-dinner drink. Frangelico—that’s my dessert.