August 24, 2011 4:51 a.m. EDT
The owner of a south Philadelphia cheesesteak shop who once instructed customers
to order only in English has died, according to to relatives.
Joey Vento had a heart attack at home and died Tuesday on the way to the
hospital, said Joseph Perno, his nephew and manager of the shop.
“Things are a little somber tonight,” Perno told CNN affiliate KYW behind the
grill at Geno’s. “But he’s in our hearts.”
Vento founded Geno’s in 1966 in Philadelphia, where it sits across the street
from another cheesesteak shop, Pat’s King of Steaks.
Pat’s claims to have invented the cheesesteak in 1933, but both stores
welcome a plethora of visitors to the City of Brotherly Love each year, and
serve the popular steak sandwiches 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more than 40 years, the rivals have been engaged in a friendly
competition over who makes the city’s best cheesesteak.
Geno’s became a popular stop for presidential candidates on the campaign
trail and a photo gallery on the restaurant’s website shows employees posing
with celebrities such as Oprah, Shaquille O’Neal and Ray Romano.
Vento made national headlines in 2006 when he posted a sign on one of his
restaurant’s windows that read, “This is America. When ordering, please speak
The sign prompted the Philadelphia commission on human relations to file a
Vento said he was using “common sense” by expecting Americans to speak
English at his establishment, and refused to take down the sign. Two years after
the controversy began, the suit was overturned.
Since his death, fans are using Twitter and Facebook to leave messages.
“Joey Vento was a true American patriot,” one message read.
Others paid tribute to his famed sandwiches.
“Thank you for making the world just a little bit better by
being here. Now heaven will have the best cheesesteaks in the world!! RIP
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
how he appeared to the world = JE = 15 = Merchant. Salesperson.
find out your own numerology at: