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Joey Vento

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NEWS
August 29, 2011
TO ALL YOU Joey Vento-bashing journalists and haters, the sign in Geno's window read: "This is America. When ordering PLEASE speak English. " It was a request - not a demand! He did not "insist" that customers order in English, and no one was denied service for not speaking in English. The man may have had his faults and some ultraconservative beliefs, but he was a generous man who not only cared about his fellow man and the disadvantaged but actually did something to help them.
NEWS
August 23, 2011 | By MORGAN ZALOT and ROBERT MORAN, and Philadelphia Inquirer
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.
NEWS
August 25, 2011 | BY GLORIA CAMPISI, campisg@phillynews.com 215-854-5935
BEFORE JUNE 2006, most people knew Joey Vento mainly for the rivalry of his Geno's Steaks with across-the-street competition Pat's King of Steaks. Then it was reported that, in a South Philadelphia neighborhood where Mexican immigrants were settling, a controversial sign had gone up at Geno's window: "This is AMERICA. WHEN ORDERING SPEAK ENGLISH. " An international controversy arose after the Philadelphia Human Relations Commision accused Vento, the grandson of Italian immigrants, of discrimination.
NEWS
August 26, 2011 | BY DOM GIORDANO
PHILADELPHIA is a city of characters. With the passing of Joey Vento, we lost one of our biggest - a guy who parlayed great cheesesteaks, neon, an incredible work ethic and personality into a great business and status as a local treasure. The Joey that I knew was pure Philly, warts and all. I got to know him at the start of the battle over the 6-by-9-inch sign requesting that people speak English when ordering cheesesteaks. The result was an international debate, a kangaroo court in Philadelphia and eventual triumph for Vento.
NEWS
June 22, 2011
IN LAST week's One Great Idea, Joey Vento had it right by recommending that we clean up waste in the system. The voting, taxpaying public needs to demand that the city bring fiscal responsibility and honest government back from near extinction. Start by downsizing City Council by several seats as the population base clearly doesn't justify the size. Next the school board should be under the public eye and not under an overpaid and over-perked czar. Her funding of "pet" programs is a slap in the face to taxpayers.
NEWS
August 25, 2011
CHEESESTEAK king, charitable donor and language specialist Joey Vento died Tuesday of a massive heart attack. Whatever you think of his insistence that his customers order in English, his passing marks the end of a quintessential Philadelphian: colorful, unapologetic and generous. Here's what we'd nominate to put on his headstone: PHILLY, WID-OUT.  
NEWS
November 2, 2011 | By Tom Barnes, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
HARRISBURG - Even in death, Philadelphia cheesesteak king Joey Vento is causing controversy. On Tuesday, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) proposed a resolution honoring Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia, who died in August. Vento was perhaps best known for the sign at Geno's that read: "This is America. When ordering, please speak English. " The sign sparked a national controversy in 2006. Metcalfe supports a bill to make English the "official language" of Pennsylvania and considers Vento a hero for his actions.
NEWS
November 3, 2011 | By Reity O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
The aroma of fried onions hung in the air Wednesday as the Fraternal Order of Police dedicated a plaque in front of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia, memorializing Joey Vento, the controversial cheesesteak magnate and philanthropist who died Aug. 23. FOP chaplain Joseph Cella gave the invocation at the ceremony, similar to those given for officers who die in the line of duty. "It seems quite appropriate in our Catholic, Christian faith, which Joey was raised in, that this, the day we commemorate all souls, we would recognize Joey," Cella said.
NEWS
August 25, 2011 | By Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff Writer
Straight-shooting, brash-talking, big of heart, deep of pocket, Joey Vento was a complicated simple guy who embraced America-first politics, hard work, homeless families, and Elton John. A self-made millionaire, Vento built up Geno's, his loud and proud cheesesteak business, from a dilapidated shop on the wedged corner of Ninth and Passyunk, a few blocks from his childhood home. When he died Tuesday at 71, at home in bed, having beaten back colon cancer but losing to a massive heart attack, he left the legacy of a man who didn't waste time worrying about nuance or consistency or whatever other people might think of him. He gained a national reputation for his famous sign asking patrons to order in English, and cannily fed his image as a commonsense voice of red-blooded Americans.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 2014 | By Toby Zinman, For The Inquirer
A. Zell Williams' Down Past Passyunk is one of those rare plays that makes you sympathize with the very kind of person you despise. And that makes it exactly the sort of play that InterAct Theatre Company specializes in: a human story about a politically volatile topic. The plot springs from the true and ludicrous events that took place - and perhaps are still taking place - eight years ago at Geno's Steaks (which, for anybody who has not been down past Passyunk, is the garishly lit competitor of Pat's King of Steaks - both South Philly landmarks.)
NEWS
April 11, 2014
SURE, IT'S based on the infamous episode sparked by the late cheesesteak impresario Joey Vento posting a sign at Geno's insisting patrons place their orders in English. But at its essence, "Down Past Passyunk" is a legal drama. As in the law of unintended consequences. The A. Zell Williams ensemble piece is having its world premiere staged by InterAct Theatre Company through April 27 at Center City's Adrienne Theatre. It is an intense, thought-provoking piece that starts out as what appears to be the kind of wise-guy riff on working-class Philadelphians that Bruce Graham has taken to the bank for decades.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 4, 2012 | Dan Gross
PHILLY-NATIVE RAPPER Eve returns to town Wednesday for a free show at the tiny Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front) in Fishtown. The 6-to-8 p.m. party is presented by Reebok Classics and marks the first local performance for the hip-hop and former sitcom star in quite a while. Her last public appearance in the area was for a Jill Scott video shoot last year. To attend, submit your name at tinyurl.com/evekfn . If you're selected, you will hear back from event organizers. Geno's inspires book The famous sticker from late Geno's Steaks owner Joey Vento — "This is America: When Ordering Please Speak English" — has inspired a book.
NEWS
November 3, 2011 | By Reity O'Brien, Inquirer Staff Writer
The aroma of fried onions hung in the air Wednesday as the Fraternal Order of Police dedicated a plaque in front of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia, memorializing Joey Vento, the controversial cheesesteak magnate and philanthropist who died Aug. 23. FOP chaplain Joseph Cella gave the invocation at the ceremony, similar to those given for officers who die in the line of duty. "It seems quite appropriate in our Catholic, Christian faith, which Joey was raised in, that this, the day we commemorate all souls, we would recognize Joey," Cella said.
NEWS
November 2, 2011 | By Tom Barnes, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
HARRISBURG - Even in death, Philadelphia cheesesteak king Joey Vento is causing controversy. On Tuesday, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) proposed a resolution honoring Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks in South Philadelphia, who died in August. Vento was perhaps best known for the sign at Geno's that read: "This is America. When ordering, please speak English. " The sign sparked a national controversy in 2006. Metcalfe supports a bill to make English the "official language" of Pennsylvania and considers Vento a hero for his actions.
NEWS
September 19, 2011 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
  It's a Jeopardy! trick question and a parlor-game stumper: What is the   official   language of the United States? No, it's not English. Nor is it any other tongue. The United States does not have an official language, despite the universality of English and the frequent attempts by congressional conservatives to enthrone it as the sovereign tongue. The individual states? That's a different story. English is the official language in 30 states.
NEWS
August 29, 2011
TO ALL YOU Joey Vento-bashing journalists and haters, the sign in Geno's window read: "This is America. When ordering PLEASE speak English. " It was a request - not a demand! He did not "insist" that customers order in English, and no one was denied service for not speaking in English. The man may have had his faults and some ultraconservative beliefs, but he was a generous man who not only cared about his fellow man and the disadvantaged but actually did something to help them.
NEWS
August 28, 2011 | By Rick Nichols, Inquirer Columnist
Cheesesteak virgins find out the hard way when they order wrong at the take-out windows of South Philly. The protocol is to order "Whiz wit," meaning, of course, Cheez Whiz with onions. Or, say, "American wit-out," meaning, well, you can figure it out. Mess up, and you're in trouble. At Pat's Steaks below the Italian Market, stern instructions are posted, warning that violators will be sent to the end of the line for screwing up. It's part of the late-night street ritual where Passyunk Avenue angles into Federal Street; like the curbside chants - fading nowadays - of the fishmongers and produce hucksters north on Ninth.
NEWS
August 26, 2011
Did you agree with the late cheesesteak purveyor Joey Vento's sign saying orders must be made in English?
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