San Francisco-based Neapolitan-style pizzeria Mozzeria, one of few deaf-owned businesses in the U.S., is opening a location on H Street in Northeast D.C. Sept. 4, not far from Gallaudet University.
The original San Francisco location was opened in the Mission District in 2011. Founders Melody and Russ Stein met while students at Gallaudet.
Non-deaf customers don’t have to use sign language to order, but they’re encouraged to, and Mozzeria said its locations have signs that show basic American Sign Language shapes. The pizzeria encourages customers to review the ASL alphabet, and provides resources for customers who wish to learn the language.
There are several other nods to the deaf community in the restaurant’s design.
The H Street restaurant was designed with DeafSpace Principles, which incorporate open space design, as well as strategic placement of windows, lighting and seating to maximize the effect of the visual experience for deaf customers and employees.
Mozzeria’s pizzas are baked in a wood-fired twin Doppio oven, and the restaurant said it is the only deaf-owned restaurant with a certification from Verace Pizza Napoletana, a Naples-based organization that certifies authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Only 818 pizzerias in the world have that certification.
Its 12-inch pizzas include classic Napoletana toppings such as marinara, Margherita, quattro formaggi and salumi.
In 2017, the nonprofit Communication Service for the Deaf invested in Mozzeria through its CSD Social Venture Fund, the first deaf-led social venture fund in the country, to help fund its expansion.
Mozzeria is at 1300 H St. NE, at the corner of 13th Street, on the ground level of apartment apartment building The Baldwin. Because of COVID-19, it will offer only carry-out for the time being.