Theodore Miller makes great pizza and strong connections in the deaf community
Running a business

Theodore Miller makes great pizza and strong connections in the deaf community

In honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month, QuickBooks is spotlighting entrepreneurs who play a vital role in creating inclusive and meaningful work for all.

Name: Theodore C. Miller

Location: Washington, D.C.

Business: Mozzeria 

Tell us about your business:

Mozzeria is a modern Italian-style Neapolitan pizzeria that offers a plethora of from-scratch Neapolitan pizzas, plus an endless offering of drinks and more. Our food is inspired by the authentic, wood-fired pizzas born in Naples and the cuisine found throughout Italy. We use the finest imported and locally-sourced ingredients, along with artisan traditions, to bring the definitive Neapolitan pizza experience to our guests.

What makes your business unique in its field?

Mozzeria is owned and run by deaf and hard of hearing people. All of our employees are all either deaf or hard of hearing or use American Sign Language. The inside of our restaurant is unlike anything else. The customers get the best of both worlds—delicious Neapolitan pizza and a visual immersion into the culture, language, and arts of our community.

How does your business support people with disabilities?

Mozzeria was created to get a talented deaf workforce into a notoriously competitive industry. We are able to build and connect the bridge between our community and the hearing community on a common ground of our love for food—especially pizza! We strive to train, expand knowledge, and open up job opportunities for all deaf people.

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We are able to build and connect the bridge between our community and the hearing community on a common ground of our love for food.

What has been most rewarding about running your business?

Being able to see our people grow, spread their wings, and soar beyond Mozzeria’s doors! There is nothing as fulfilling or rewarding as seeing your community thrive. There are connections being made in this industry that are very diverse and rich in experience and knowledge—it’s amazing to be part of it!

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner?

I am not the owner of Mozzeria, but you could say I am taking up the ownership and responsibility of operating the business. Taking ownership of something is always time-consuming—it will become a part of you. For me, the most surprising part is how organic and “living” a business can be! It evolves. A beautiful thing to witness, really.

What is an aspect of running a business that you needed to learn more about when you started? How did you learn about it?

It’s always the things that come at you by surprise. I have learned that I need to be better at preparing or constructing my expectations, reactivity, and actions that come when the unexpected comes at me. It is a day and night thing—how things will work out depends on your initial and follow-through response.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome as a business owner?

The restaurant industry is one of the most challenging industries to begin with. There is such a high rate of failure in any restaurant’s first three years of business. We are coming into our second year now and of course the odds aren’t on our side. There are quite a few logistics and good problems that need to be solved—but nothing my team and I can’t handle! It will be fun.

What are your proudest moments?

There are so many moments that I wish I could frame up on my refrigerator! But if I have to pick one, it would be those moments where my employees are thriving and growing in their own ways—as in an indirect or direct influence of Mozzeria. And to see the wonderstruck look and enlightenment on our customers’ faces when they get a wonderful experience with us and we made a great example out of our community.

What are the next big plans you have for your business? 

There are so many, but one of them would be our new catering and pop-up program. We will be getting a van to do catering and pop-up events. This allows us to go wherever customers are—and that is a huge game changer. A new stream of revenue for us! 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone running their own business?

I would say that if you believe in it, give it all! Be smarter. Be open to learn. Always welcome mistakes as they are your greatest teachers. As long we are learning and welcome that into our lives… we will be okay! 

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going?

There are many people and role models which I am very lucky to be close to and learn from, but I would say “myself!” I always wonder how far I can go, and the next thing I know, I went further!

What’s your “power song” and why?

I don’t really have one, but I do love a good set of push-ups to pump myself up and get the blood flowing! 

Learn more about Mozzeria’s mission at or follow them on Instagram @eatmozzeria.

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