Michael MacAulay (Sweetwater Media), Melody Stein (Mozzeria ) and Robert Esposito (Abbondanza)
Not many deaf people own a restaurant across the country. To the best of my knowledge, there are about 5 deaf restaurateurs. I am not counting myself because I haven’t opened Mozzeria yet.
It was a privilege to have dinner with Robert Esposito last week. Robert owns and runs a pizzeria for almost ten years in Seattle, Washington. Like me, he comes from a family of restaurateurs. It was amazing because I get to meet a fellow Deaf Restaurateur and we shared resources and ideas that were inspiring.
It was so nice to share questions and thoughts with an experienced restauranteur who also happens to be involved with the pizza industry. His style is New York with italian ingredients while mine is Neapolitan with international influence. We had a fascinating discussion about his experience hiring staff that could hear and the interactions between Deaf staff.
Robert once thought about opening the restaurant in either San Francisco or Seattle and settled on the latter; perhaps we may also have the pleasure of his pizzas in San Francisco too someday. When three of us had dinner at Ryoko, a place that serves excellent sushi, it was past 830 pm and full house. He was impressed the tenancy of San Franciscans to eat out later here than up north. This is excellent for restaurant businesses.
He asked me where I took cooking classes. I described my Italy trip and he was pleased to hear that I also stopped at Naples, the birthplace of Neapolitan pizzas. Turns out he visited there!
I asked him if he attended Pizza Expo and Robert had been going there for many years. Hopefully I’ll get to run into him again at the expo!
If you happen to be in Seattle, be sure to visit his restaurant:
6503 California Ave SW