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Owner of Geno's Steaks dies


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6 replies to this topic

#1 janeer

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:29 PM

I always preferred Pat's, but this is the end of an era in the across-the-street rivalry. Story here.

#2 KatieLoeb

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 10:48 PM

My condolences to the Vento family. But I still will believe to my dying day that Joey Vento was short-sighted at best, in discouraging immigrants (a rather large proportion of his neighbors in that part of the city) from eating at his shop because they couldn't "order in English". Weren't his parents or grandparents immigrants?? Seems a bit hypocritical to me to be barking orders at your neighbors when you're not so far removed from their shoes yourself. I dunno. I don't wish any ill will on any family, but you reap what you sow. I haven't put a dime into the register at Geno's ever since that uproar and I stand by my decision to do so. Nonetheless, a family has lost a husband, father, uncle, brother, etc. I wish them peace in their grieving. Mr. Vento will be missed by many, I am certain.

Katie M. Loeb
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#3 Tim Dolan

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:24 PM

I'm on the other side of that coin. It's sad that he came under such fire for requesting that customers speak English in a country whose main language is, you know, English. And yes, his grandparents were immigrants who, as Mr. Vento would quickly point out, came to the coutry and then learned English. Makes sense to me. I certainly don't assume that people understand my language when I travel abroad. The whole thing seemed much ado about nothing to me. Politics and opinions aside, however, there's no denying that he gave a ton of effort and money to numerous charities in the area.
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#4 philadining

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:56 PM

I don't wish to speak ill of Joey Vento at this moment in time, but it's still worth noting that the controversy over the
"speak English" sign didn't occur in a vacuum.

He was an outspoken, politically controversial person, and while there's plenty of room for debate about any of these issues, it would be disingenuous to suggest that the sign was merely a polite request to speak the prevailing language so that the line would move more efficiently. I really doubt that they were having a problem with people expecting to order in foreign languages.

It's perfectly fine for a businessman to hold, and express, whatever political positions he wants, but if he's going to make it an inherent part of his business by posting a sign next to the cash register, then he'll have to be ready for some people to disagree. I saw that sign as hostile toward Mexican and Vietnamese immigrants, who I see as revitalizing that neighborhood. I disagreed with the sign, and chose to not eat there any more.

But I'm also willing to accept that he did good works in the neighborhood as well. If nothing else, I think it's pretty great that we have a weird intersection like 9th and Wharton and Passyunk, touristy or not, I'm glad that there's a place where I can go get a good cheesesteak at any hour.

Yep, I said a good cheesteak. From either place.

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#5 KatieLoeb

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 06:59 PM

Directly underneath the "Order in English..." sign was another sign that said "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone..." It was the juxtaposition of those TWO signs that I found rather hostile and jingoistic. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, politics or whatever, but I don't believe that the Latino and Asian community leaders that were speaking out against this were completely delusional about the implications of that either.

Mr. Vento did have a big heart for those causes he did support, and was quite generous to those with whom he agreed. I hope his family can manage without him. He apparently worked very hard every day right up until the end. I can most certainly respect that.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#6 janeer

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:48 PM

Honestly, does it matter whether we agreed or not? He'd dead. He was a character. His store was/is a local icon. It's the end of an era. As you say,philadining, a good steak, regardless. Although, of course, Pat's was better :smile:

#7 CoolPapaBell

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:54 PM

Refusing to assimilate in a culture you choose to enter is the ultimate form of intolerance. Whether or not he should have gone so far as to imply he'd refuse service for those who refuse to respect the culture that welcomed them is another story.
Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore. It's always too crowded.

---Yogi Berra