Deaf Entrepreneurs Open Pizzeria Where People With Hearing Impairments Can Thrive.

“What we deaf people tend to say is: Skills are always there, just not the opportunities,” said Ryan Maliszewski, the CEO of the Mozzeria restaurant.

With this mantra in mind, he is working closely with Melody and Russ Stein, Mozzeria’s founders, to ensure their business is a place where people with hearing impairments can thrive and build careers!

Melody and Russ started the pizza joint, which is based out of San Francisco, in 2011. By 2020, they opened a second location in Washington D.C.

Throughout their nine-year journey, they have aimed to create a working environment where deaf and hearing-impaired employees “can demonstrate their talent and feel a shared sense of belonging.”


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Of course, people without hearing impairments are welcome to join their team as long as they know American Sign Language.

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In addition to ensuring their staff members can communicate freely, they put a great deal of thought into their restaurants’ design.

For example, the D.C. location was built to “create a highly visual and open space where people can communicate via sign across the room without barriers — to create as porous an environment as possible.”

Together, these three entrepreneurs are going above and beyond to give their employees what they need to be successful!

When the novel coronavirus pandemic began and everyone was required to wear masks, they brought in a professor who specializes in using the body to communicate to help their staff members interact with each other and their customers without having to read lips.

At the end of the day, Ryan’s goal is to offer their employees more than one job — he wants to empower them to build their careers!

“I really want to see deaf employees earn the respect that they deserve, so that when somebody walks in that doesn’t sign, they see that deaf people can do everything from owning a restaurant to bartending to cooking,” he explained.

Currently, Mozzeria has two brick-and-mortar locations and a food truck. There’s no telling how much they’ll grow because people love the inclusiveness they offer! The delicious wood-fired pizza doesn’t hurt either!

Learn more about Mozzeria on their website, and share this story with your friends to spread their wonderful approach.

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