Longtime readers know I’m a Philadelphia-born foodie with a soft spot not just for any cheese steaks, but for the one and only Geno’s — served up by the bold and brash American patriot Joey Vento.
We’ve covered his battles with politically correct bureaucrats in Philly many times over the years as the son of Italian immigrants demanded his customers order in English. Unbelievably, he faced down a human rights inquisition over his free speech.
Sad news for those of us who cheered his unapologetic demand for assimilation over ethnic tribalism: Vento passed away today at 71 of a massive heart attack…
South Philly legend Joey Vento, who opened Geno’s Steaks at 9th and Passyunk in 1966, died today of a massive heart attack. Vento was 71.
“We’re a little tragic here right now,” Vento’s nephew Joseph Perno, manager at Geno’s, said tonight. “We’re doing fine. So far, so good.”
Vento was a controversial figure, perhaps known best for signs at his steak shop requiring customers to order in English that prompted a lawsuit in 2006. Geno’s Steaks also had a longstanding feud with Pat’s King of Steaks, which claims to have invented the cheesesteak in 1933.
Perno, 50, said Vento had come to work this morning. When Perno came in for his night shift, he found out that Vento had suffered a fatal heart attack. “He was here every morning,” Perno said. “He was here this morning. He was dedicated to his business and his family.”
A Philly patriot, small businessman, and champion of assimilation. His spirit won’t be forgotten!
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