Deaf Owned and Operated: Restaurants and Cafes


For those of you pizza-lovers traveling to San Fransico, visit Mozzeria, the only Deaf-owned restaurant in the area.  The owners, Melody and Russell Stein, recently opened Mozzeria in December of 2011, which has been greeted with rave reviews.  Melody and Russell met at Gallaudet University, where they both studied Business Administration.  As a second generation restaurant owner with a degree in Hospitality Management, it has long been Melody’s dream to open her own restaurant.  Due to Russell’s love for pizza, the couple agreed on the concept of opening a pizza restaurant that would offer food inspired by cooking classes that Melody took in Italy.

Mozzeria offers traditional and imaginative pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven, which gives the pizza its smoky flavor.  In addition to offering delicious pizza and Italian food, this restaurant provides a unique atmosphere that is conducive for both hearing and Deaf customers.  Melody and Russell have hired several Deaf employees and their entire wait staff is fluent in ASL.  This offers the truly unique experience for Deaf customers to freely converse in ASL with all of the staff.  For Italian-inspired pizza and a Deaf friendly atmosphere, visit Mozzeria during your next trip to San Fransico.

Mozzeria is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and is now open for brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It is located at 3228 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.  For more information, visit their website at

Shannon’s Tea House & Art Gallery Cafe

If your travels take you to Frederick, Maryland, consider paying a visit to Shannon’s Tea House & Art Gallery Cafe.  This cafe offers a wide variety of teas (by the cup or pot), soups, salads, sandwiches, and deserts.  The owner, Shannon Cooley, opened her business in 2010 to combine her desire to open a cafe and her passion for art.  Cooley graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in graphic design.  Despite personally designing the decor decals for the cafe, the majority of the art showcased in her Art Gallery Cafe is the work of Deaf and Hard of Hearing artists from around the country.  This unique cafe provides the perfect setting to enjoy time with family and friends over tea and art.

Shannon’s Tea House & Art Gallery Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers high tea and afternoon tea with reservations from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  It is located at 244 East Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701.  For more information, email

ViUDA Bistro

If your travels take you to the Austin, Texas area, consider making your way to ViUDA Bistro in Buda, Texas.  General Manager, Paul Rutowski, opened ViUDA Bistro almost a year ago, which has proved to be popular among local residents in Buda and Kyle.  The name of the restaurant, “viuda” means “widow” in Spanish, but English-speakers often pronounce it as “buda.”  In fact, the town of Buda was so named because in the 1880s, the viudas were two widows who cooked at the Carrington Hotel.  When the town was forced to change its name, Buda was selected based on a corrupted pronunciation of this word.  Although ViUDA Bistro’s name pays tribute to the area’s origins, the menu provides innovative and modern twists on Texas cuisine.  This restaurant prides itself on its unique menu which includes yak meat, yam chips, and many other distinctive dishes and uses of proteins.

Rutowski, along with his executive chef, sous chef, line cook, and dishwasher are all Deaf.  Although Rutowski appreciates the support from the Deaf community, he hopes to draw diners based solely on his menu and restaurant experience, whether they be Deaf or hearing.  ViUDA has gained recent attention because of executive chef, Kurt Ramborger, also known as “the Irish chef.”  Ramborger was recently voted’s Hottest Chef in America 2012, with large support from the Deaf community.  While establishing regular customers, Rutowski and Ramborger hope to maintain ViUDA for the long-term, and would eventually be interested in expanding into Austin.  For now, diners can experience the unique cuisine of ViUDA Bistro at its Buda location.

ViUDA Bistro is open Thursday through Saturday from 5pm – 9pm and is available Sunday through Wednesday for RSVP/Private Functions.  It is located at 108 North Main Street, Buda, USA 78610.  For more information, visit their website at

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