Deaf Business Spotlight: Mozzeria

September 30, 2017



ALEX: Hello, today’s Deaf Business Spotlight is… Mozzeria — a pizza restaurant and a food truck in San Francisco, California.


It is owned by Deaf couple Russ and Melody Stein. They use a special oven, a Stefano Ferrara oven, that weighs 5,000 pounds.


Mozzeria has been the pride of the Deaf community ever since they founded it in 2011. Check it out.




KARINA: Good morning from San Francisco! I’m Karina, Bay Area Community Curator. What am I doing here in the Mission District? Hmm, what’s the Deaf-owned business here? You might’ve already guessed it. Mozzeria! But Mozzeria isn’t open in the mornings, so what am I going to do? I’m going to show you some behind-the-scenes there. Not only do they operate a restaurant, but they do catering, too! Ready to see? Come on!


MELODY: Hi, I’m Melody. I’m the co-owner of Mozzeria.


KARINA: See this oven here? It’s never off, except on Mondays.


MELODY: We have the restaurant here, and a food truck out there somewhere right now. We do day and evening catering.


We prep the food here to take into the food truck. We do the same thing for catering. We also offer delivery.


We offer this restaurant space for private events which is perfect for holiday parties. This space is great for weddings, baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and more.


Some afternoons we host ASL-related events for community college students to come. My staff will give presentations on the history of Mozzeria and we serve pizza.


We’ve got about 15 staff here. Some are in the food truck, others are here during the day or evening.


KARINA: Here are the behind-the-scenes at Mozzeria’s kitchen. They’re prepping right now for tonight’s dinner service. Have a look.


MARK-JOSHUA CADONDON: The lemons are for extracting juice for salads, and lots of other things.


ORALIA SILVA: I like to work here and to wash the produce or dishes.


You can see how there’s a full access to communication here at Mozzeria. The bosses and employees all sign. It’s a signing-centric place with Deaf and hearing people here. As soon as you walk inside, there are mirrors. You know how Deaf people must have mirrors for greater visual awareness.


SABRINA FERGUSON: We have Convo Lights that illuminate for incoming calls so we don’t miss them. The art here was painted by Deaf artists. The shirts we sell are made by Route 66 who are Deaf owners, too.


KARINA: You can see the beautiful Deaf ecosystem at work here. Not only the employees and owners are Deaf, but the artwork was created by Deaf people. These ones in particular were made by David Call who is famous for his linocut work. They’re beautiful.


This is one of the newest artwork here, made by Nancy Rourke. She’s made some unique color palettes for Mozzeria.


MELODY: How we come up with these wine selections: we believe in choosing those of Italian and California origins because we serve Italian food, and we’re fortunate to be in California where Napa Valley is nearby.


With wine, I wanted to work with small businesses because we are a small business, too. I understand how hard it is to run a small business, so we have that mutual understanding and support. There’s always a story behind each wine. For example with this wine here, it’s founded by two women who had a dream of establishing a winery. The wine business here is a male-dominated industry, so these women wanted to set up their own business. It’s a great story, so I sell their wine here. We’ve got a bunch more here.


When I was researching on Italian wines in the past - I admit I wasn’t that educated on Italian wines, I’m more familiar with Californian wines - it made sense that I included the red and white Italian wines to be our House wines since this is an Italian pizza place.


When I was looking into Nero d’Avola wines (which I didn’t know of that time) I learned that it used fresh grapes introduced by Italy. They were popular over there, so I brought them here. People like to order House wines here and they’re often surprised at its good taste and ask where it is from. It’s the perfect chance for me to explain about Nero d’Avola.


People love it, so after that, they are confident enough to try our other wines. We offer red, white, and Prosecco wines. What’s Prosecco? It’s like how France has its Champagne, and California has its sparkling wine. For Italy, it’s Prosecco.


KARINA: See how there’s a true ecosystem here? They’re big on supporting small businesses and Deaf businesses. Mozzeria is a beautiful example of using our Ecosystem resources. That’s very cool! Be sure to visit next time you’re in San Francisco!




ALEX: That’s a nice restaurant. I’m happy to say I’ve eaten their pizza, and it’s delicious. If you’re in the Bay Area, be sure to visit it.


You can check out their website at and follow their Instagram/Twitter @mozzeriasf or Facebook @Mozzeria.


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