THE CIRCLE OF LIFE is achieved through pizza at Alatri
Bros. in Bethesda. Restaurateurs and brothers Roberto and
Riccardo Pietrobono (proprietors of Olazzo and Gringos
& Mariachis) were chef Melissa Ballinger’s landlords. She
owned and operated the 55-seat (plus 25 outside) restaurant, which was called Mia’s Pizzas, from 2006 until she
retired and passed the business on to the Pietrobonos in
2016. Wilber Melendez, one of the pizzaiolos who helms
the oak-burning oven at Alatri Bros., honed his craft under
Ballinger’s tutelage, and Ballinger honed hers working with
chef Ruth Gresser at Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C.,
in the ’90s. Gresser was an early adapter of Neapolitan-style
pies in the Washington area.
Our go-to pizza at Alatri Bros. is the Meatball Pie, topped
with a generous layer of cooked tomato sauce, lots of mozzarella cheese and three large, halved chicken meatballs.
;e hand-rolled baked orbs—made with ground chicken
thighs, onions, garlic, oregano, basil, red chili pepper flakes,
milk and Parmesan cheese—are light and toothsome. (Pork
meatballs are available, too.) ;at pizza and a Caesar salad
add up to a perfect meal.
Alatri Bros., 4926 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-718-6427;
Pizza chef Wilber Melendez makes a Meatball
Pie, topped with cooked tomato sauce,
mozzarella and halved chicken meatballs.