As a third generation restaurateur, Melody Stein has always had the language of food coursing through her veins. While opening her own restaurant one day seemed like a natural progression, she soon found there was a long road ahead of her, as she was denied acceptance to culinary school because of her Deafness. But that didn’t stop her. She went on to get her degree in Hospitality Management, met her pizza-loving husband Russ, who is also Deaf, and they went to work.
The Neapolitan pizzas at Mozzeria are all cooked in a 5,000lb Stefano Ferrara oven in the center of the restaurant, so you can watch as your pies being prepared and cooked. There are traditional pizzas, but you want to go for one of the creative options instead: our current favorites are the Hosui Pear with pancetta and brie, and the Peking Duck. Oh, and NBD (actually huge deal), but Mozzeria is one of the only deaf-owned and operated restaurants in the country. No worries if you don’t know sign language; you place your order using pen and paper.
San Francisco is widely known for its cultural diversity as well as its reputation for being a foodie city. Mozzeria in San Francisco’s Mission District combines these two facts, as it is a gourmet pizzeria owned and operated by deaf couple Melody and Russell Stein. The Steins promise a unique and memorable dining experience unlike any other for deaf and hearing customers alike.
Soon after customers arrive at Mozzeria for the first time, they notice something's different about the restaurant: Virtually every staffer is deaf.
Owners Russ and Melody Stein are also deaf, and have run their San Francisco restaurant since 2011. The business is thriving because customers love the food and the Steins have overcome obstacles deaf people can face when they become small business owners -- particularly lingering stereotypes and prejudice, and fewer resources than hearing entrepreneurs have.
Thanks to new technology and improving outreach programs, more deaf people are opening small businesses across the country. The entrepreneurs no longer feel pigeonholed to work in fields that only cater to other deaf people.
Mozzeria is a Mission-based pizzeria that elevated their game a few years ago by creating a trolley-style mobile pizzeria. They make their way around the Bay Area, so you might want to check out their schedule prior to penciling a trip.
It’s also worth noting that the owners and many of the servers here are deaf. They use ASL to communicate, which is really cool.
Lauren and I love pizza. It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of melted cheese, tomato sauce and bread. But, we wanted to find a place that would stand out and that’s what we found at Mozzeria in the Mission District. What makes it special? Well, first it has amazing authentic Italian-style pizza. Second, it is owned by a beautiful deaf couple. Third, it has a brick fire oven that adds a cool ambiance/creates the amazing pizza.
PIZZA! Just hearing the word brings joy to masses of hungry humans the world over.
But when it comes to a slice of cheesy, saucy, carby divinity, smell and taste (not hearing) are the only senses that matter.
When Melody Stein was denied entry to a San Francisco culinary school due to her deafness, she was crushed. Being the third generation of a family of restaurateurs, running a restaurant of her own someday seemed inevitable. Instead, she went on to major in Hospitality Management and married her New York-born, pizza-obsessed husband Russ. But the dream of having her own place never fully went away.
Melody Stein always dreamed of opening a world-class pizzeria — and as with everything else in life, she wasn’t going to let being deaf get in her way.
"I always wanted to become the third generation in the family to own and manage a restaurant,” she said. "Being deaf, I thought it was a far-fetched dream, but thanks nowadays due to change of attitudes and laws, I felt I had the chance. So, when my husband, Russell, said he would support me, I went for it!"