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A San Francisco Pizzeria Coming to H Street Will Generate Jobs for Deaf Workers

Mozzeria has funding from a nonprofit that supports the deaf community

San Francisco-born Mozzeria is bringing its pies to D.C. next year.
Mozzeria [official]
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A Neapolitan-style pizzeria that’s run entirely by deaf workers is coming to D.C. next Spring. Mozzeria, which has a shop and a pizza truck in San Francisco, is moving into a shop at 1300 H Street NE. The pizzeria will be at the base of a new apartment complex called the Baldwin.

Nonprofit Communication Service for the Deaf funded a major 2017 investment round for the brand through its social venture fund, to create a Mozzeria chain of deaf-operated restaurants across the U.S.

H Street NE was a natural pick for Mozzeria’s second restaurant. It’s a popular destination for students at nearby Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The school is also where Mozzeria’s owners, couple Melody Stein and Russ Stein, first met. They debuted Mozzeria in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2011.

The news comes as are more area restaurants are reaching out to its hard-of-hearing Gallaudet neighbors.

Starbucks opened its first U.S. Signing Store a few blocks away at 6th and H Street NE last fall, with a requirement that all employees be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).

Mozzeria is one of a handful of businesses in the U.S. that’s owned and operated by deaf people, Eater SF reports. Diners communicate with deaf servers using ASL symbols that correspond to menu items. The 8-inch pies feature toppings such as shiitake mushrooms, soppressata, and Italian sausage.

Here’s a look at the San Francisco menu:

Mozzeria/official photo

Mozzeria is a member of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, an international organization that certifies Neapolitan pizzerias. The owners have restaurant experience in their blood: Melody Stein’s parents ran restaurants in San Francisco and Hong Kong, where she was born. Russ Stein, a native New Yorker, considers himself a pizza aficionado.