Controversial 'Speak English' Sign Gone From Famed Philly Cheesesteak Outpost
An oft-controversial sign championed by the late founder of one of Philly's most famous cheesesteak shops has been taken down, the Associated Press reported.
Geno's has held its prominent location at South Philadelphia's 'cheesesteak junction', at the diagonal meeting of 9th and Passyunk--and across from cheesesteak originator "Pat's", since 1966, but Vento's contentious sign set it apart from the rest.
Joey Vento, who died in 2011 at age 71, drew regional and national attention over his "This is America, When Ordering Speak English" sign posted to the walk-up window at 'Geno's'.
After Vento's death, his son Geno, named for his father's shop, apparently decided to take the sign down.
"[We have] decided to move on," a representative for Geno's told the AP, “It’s not about a sign. It’s about what you do and what your mark in life is, and Geno wants to change that mark in life.”
After a discrimination complaint was filed with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, and later dismissed in 2009, Joey Vento said the sign made him "famous throughout the world."
The descendant of Italian immigrants, Joey Vento said he never refused service to anyone, but posted the sign as a political statement in the ongoing immigration debate.
He gave a fiery speech at one of the nation's first Tea Party rallies in 2009, which was held on Independence Mall, and continued to speak at similar forums until his death.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Geno's Steaks received attention once again recently when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has put immigration policy at the forefront of his platform, stopped by for a steak sandwich while campaigning in Pennsylvania.