Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Philadelphia Legend Passes Away

I've been on vacation for a couple weeks, and while I was gone, away from the computer, a Philadelphia legend passed away. Joey Vento, the founder of the neon lighted Geno's Steaks in South Philly, across the street from just-as-famous rival Pat's Steaks, died Tuesday of a heart attack in his home in South Jersey. He was 71.

Vento started the restaurant with its amazing cheesesteaks (and fries) in 1966, and been going strong ever since, warring with friendly rival Pat's and other up-and-comers like Jim's and Tony Luke's. There may be preferences, but any real Philly cheesesteak is the best. Ask anyone from 'round here who gioes to this end of the Italian Market, they will tell you they order a steak from both Geno's and Pat's.

In recent years, Vento had gotten into some hot water with a sign at his establishment that read: "This is America: When order please speak English." Despite what it sounded like, Vento really had the best of intentions - making the ordering process smoother, rather than anything racist. Either way, we have lost a local legend with a mad passion for his food. We should all go get a "Whiz, wit'" in his memory, and don't forget the fries.

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Liz said...

I didn't like his English campaign, but his Philanthropic contributions and his cheesesteaks are what should be celebrated. He was a Philly guy ( outspoken and unapologetic) and his passing is a real hit to the community. I liked his moxie even if I strogly disagreed with him. A Philly legend.

Anonymous said...

I agreed with his English campaign (I don't care if someone speaks their mother tongue anywhere but when you order or talk to someone who is an Enligh speaker -in a store, eatery etc-, at least learn enough to converse with them) but it's not a shocker he died of a heart attack. Look at what he ate all the time and what kind of place he ran. Not heart healthy.