By Christina Mueller

In Italy, kissing your fingertips is a gesture of happiness. At Mozzeria, where pizza, pasta and seasonally inspired small plates are prepared and served mostly by deaf staff, this simple gesture is innately understood. Pizzas are Neapolitan in style but celebrate the diversity of San Francisco, and of Mozzeria’s owners, Melody and Russ Stein. Roast duck with hoisin and spring onion is an homage to Melody’s Hong Kong roots, while the Bronx Bomber, loaded with coppa and soppressata, celebrates Russ’s New York heritage. But the radicchio pizza is the Bay Area standout. At first bite, the flavor of sweet spring pea and salty cheese gives way to the bitter tang of radicchio, before the double-umami thunder of Gorgonzola and truffle honey stamps an indelible impression on your palate. Use (Italian) American Sign Language: Press the center of your outstretched hand to your lips to throw your “bellissima!” to the chef.

... on the side

the crowd
Families of all sizes, shapes, and colors meet at the slick black tables in the back, while couples canoodle at the counter and in the few window seats. The deaf community is well represented here and many tables speak only in American Sign Language.

at your service
Though not all of the staff are deaf, all servers are. To ensure that there is no miscommunication between customers and staff, tables are stocked with pen and paper, giving a whole new meaning to “passing notes.”

get it while it’s hot
Mozzeria cooks every pie in their imported Italian pizza oven using only almond wood. The oven reaches 1000 degrees, is fully insulated, and required a special venting system in its 100-year-old San Francisco home.

on the stereo
Alt-pop from the Black Eyed Peas, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, and Mumford and Sons is the norm, but here you can actually hear the music.



Tues– Fri 5.30 PM–10 PM;
 Sat 5 PM–11 PM;
 Sun 5 PM–10 PM
Closed Monday

price range

$8 for (veal-pork meatballs) to $18 (roast duck pizza)