Joey Vento, Owner Of Geno’s Steaks, Dies At 71

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The long-time owner of Geno’s Steaks in South Philadelphia has passed away.

Joey Vento died of a massive heart attack at his home at about 5:30 p.m. He was 71-years-old. Vento reportedly passed away on his way to the hospital.

The controversial owner of one of Philadelphia’s premier cheesesteak shops made national headlines in June 2006 when he posted a sign at the store saying “This is America: When Ordering Speak English.” At the time, Vento said he posted the signs in reaction to the ongoing debate over immigration reform.

Vento underwent surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center after being diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer several months ago.

According to Geno’s website, “In 1966, Joe started “Geno’s” with $6.00 in his pocket, 2 boxes of steaks and some hot dogs.”

Joe learned the cheesesteak business from his father, who in the early 1940’s opened “Jim’s Steaks.”

A memorial was held at Geno’s Steaks Tuesday night to remember the owner.

Click here for reaction from Geno’s Steaks employees.

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One Comment

  1. remucho says:

    Philly lost a real icon and he will be remembered as a true American !

  2. JAB says:


  3. Angry Revolutionary says:

    The man was a class act. He gave to the communtiy and the country. Raising money for fallen officers and for the fallen of 9/11. He was the true example of the American dream, he bulit a business from nothing and turned it into a well oiled maching. He also had work ethic, something that is sorely missed today; especially by the younger generation. He spoke his mind and beleived that people didn’t deserve a free ride. He beleived that people should come to this country legally, work, pay taxes and learn the language. It’s called respect ladies and gentlemen. It’s the foundations for what this country was built on. He lived everyday to its fullest, worked hard and gave back. How many of you who criticize him can say that you have done the same. Rest in Peace Mr. Vento, you will be missed.

    1. Angry Revolutionary says:

      Sorry that should be “well piled machine”

      1. Angry Revolutionary says:

        oiled….must have been the earthquake, I’m still rattled.

  4. Roman Doroshenko says:

    Rest in peace Joey.
    a true AMERICAN.

  5. anthony dececco says:

    JOEY, A true american!

  6. anthony dececco says:


  7. yang says:

    good riddance to a dumb racist old punk, may he rot in hell

  8. rifleman1234 says:

    if you are leaving a comment, please speak english! rip

  9. Que Fah says:

    Joe was a great guy. God bless him.

  10. Steven Wilson says:

    Rest In Peace Mr. Vento. You were a class act even though a lot of people really didn’t think so because of your speak english sign.
    You will be missed every time I think of Philadelphia Cheese steaks.
    I always thought about your place. You will be missed.

    1. catherine dim9ck says:

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON class… its time for the angels to have one of the very best cheesesteaks EVER,,,,

      RIP JOEY you will be missed

  11. Donna Furia Sperone says:

    Joey, god bless you! The respect you showed not only for law enforcement, firefighters and the familes of the many fallen brave. But, for the common everyday person. Fighting for the respect earned by our immigrant ancestors that came here to the land of opportunity, and proudly learned the language and customs of America. Our 10 year old son Joey, will miss you the most in our family. He knew when he did well in school, received and award, his birthday or another special occasion he would get the choice of what he wanted. He always wanted “A mushroom steak, wiz, with!” We even named our new boxer puppy, a little feisty guy that his is, “Geno Vento Furia Sperone”. So, the last time we were at Geno’s we told one one of the guys. He made such a big deal about it, he gave our son a “Geno’s shirt”, and told Joey when he was ready to get a job, to come on down and see you! I think Joey wore the shirt 3 days in a row. God bless you Joey and your family. Our prayers are with all of you. Love and thank you for everthing, especially for standing up for what you believe in, and being a friend to all.

  12. MK says:

    Good riddance. Once last time in the spotlight for this trash.

  13. Anita says:

    Bless you Joey..Keep on cooking those cheesesteaks!

  14. John McCloskey says:

    rest in peace joey, you were a great supporter of philadelphia police officers and families and a true patriot!! ALWAYS WILL BE A PHILADELPHIA LEGEND!

Comments are closed.

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