Pizza News

Deaf Pizzaioli Power Couple Opens New Ghost Kitchen in L.A.

The duo provide job opportunities for Deaf people and critically acclaimed pizza for the public.

Los Angeles is getting a new ghost kitchen, Pi00a (pronounced “pie-oh-ah,” according to Eater LA), run by one of the most unique power couples in the pizza segment. Melody and Russ Stein, who met at Gallaudet University—a private college for the Deaf in Washington D.C.—have dedicated themselves to opening pizza restaurants that are Deaf-owned and operated.

Pi00a is located in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles and offers eight different pizzas that can be ordered either for pickup, or to be delivered by DoorDash, Uber Eats or GrubHub. Pies range from a standard Margherita pizza to a Hainan Chicken pizza, with pickled English cucumber, poached chicken, ginger-leek sauce and crispy rice. The menu also features a Miso Eggplant pie, as well as an Asian Pear pie.

Related: How one pizza shop turned SIN into something magical


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The virtual brand is not the Steins’ first rodeo in the pizza space. The duo opened Mozzeria in San Francisco in 2011 to much acclaim: The pizza was just as good as their life story. The 50-seat shop was owned, operated and staffed entirely by either Deaf or hard-of-hearing pizza pros. Diners at Mozzeria placed their orders in sign language or by pointing to the menu or writing with pen and paper.

“Our decision to employ an all-Deaf team was one of the best decisions we ever made,” Melody Stein told PMQ in 2019. “Most of them came to Mozzeria with no working experience, and now many have held their positions at Mozzeria for more than three to five years. Some of them have been promoted to management or supervisor positions. When you come to our San Francisco location, you will see that nearly everything is built by Deaf people—the electricity, plumbing, flooring, painting, furniture and artwork.”

In September 2020, the Communication Service for the Deaf Social Venture Fund partnered with the Steins to open up a second Mozzeria location in Washington D.C., but the Steins eventually had to close their store in San Francisco during the pandemic.

Pi00a will be even more of a family affair than Mozzeria was: The Steins will have their children, Taysia and Rylan, help them carry on the Mozzeria tradition of offering career opportunities for Deaf people. According to Eater LA, the kitchen will be fully American Sign Language accessible. Social posts from the virtual brand often include sign language as well.


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The flexibility of the virtual kitchen will allow the Steins to easily expand their portfolio: Eater LA reports that the group will soon add an East Coast Italian-style sandwich shop called Panino Mano in the coming months.