San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (l) with Mozzeria co-owners Russell & Melody Stein.
We received a Valentine's treat from our city... San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and his team came to visit us at Mozzeria on Valentine's Day.
Everyone has said Mayor Ed is easygoing with people, yep, that's true. He brought an American Sign Language interpreter with him. How awesome! That gesture meant a lot to us, I mean it should be like this. It made our conversation easier and it went smoothly.
I told the Mayor how grateful I was for receiving assistance from Jane Gong when I was doing research on opening a restaurant in San Francisco. We had met with her at City Hall, and I had my concerns about dealing with red tape. I was afraid of the roadblocks and that we wouldn't be able to open Mozzeria. After leaving from our meeting with Jane Gong, I felt more confident and at ease. Sure enough, several months later Mozzeria finally opened! (http://www.mozzeria.com/view-blog/Fighting-To-Open-Doors-)
We gave Mayor Lee a tour around the restaurant and he got to meet with our staff. I shared some facts with him - that all of our current employees are Deaf. Most of them had a hard time finding jobs because many people were afraid of hiring them, and thought they couldn't perform their job duties well. For example, my sous chef, Josue graduated from the California Culinary Academy yet no one would hire him to work in any restaurants for 6 years until Mozzeria came into the picture. Many of our employees went through similar experiences, and are happy to have this opportunity to work at Mozzeria where their talents are being recognized.
We also got to talk about the issues - labor cost, city taxes, etc. It is really hard doing business in one of the most expensive cities in the States. How these taxes do affect small businesses, and how we are trying to survive in this environment. It was really nice to share our perspectives with the Mayor on these little hidden costs. I didn't expect him to change things overnight, but I do hope he listens to us and other small businesses.
We also invited Mayor Lee to make Margherita and Peking Duck pizzas for lunch. We laughed when we told Mayor Lee that he had to wear latex gloves – that it was one of the little things that we have to put up whenever we receive a letter either from the City or the State of California about new bylaws or policy being implemented. Mayor Lee shouted, "not the city… it's the State of California's" It is sort of irky that we have to wear the gloves especially when we work with the dough. Anyway, we were impressed with how quick Mayor Lee's was learning and he made pretty good pizzas! Hey, Mayor Lee if you want to change your career, your job is waiting at Mozzeria. :)
Lastly, we had a wonderful time with Mayor Lee, Jane Gong and Regina Dick-Endrizzi. Thank you so much for visiting us. We hope to make the city proud, and we want to show everyone that "WE CAN." We want to see more doors open for Deaf people.
Its nice of mayor and an interpter visit with your business. Very impressed.. Someday my husband and I will stop and visit and eating there.. Good job!!