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Geno’s Steaks Employees Remember Owner, Joey Vento

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Legendary cheesesteak shop owner Joey Vento has died (see related article).

Employees at Geno’s Steaks learned of their boss’s passing when they came in to work the evening shift.

Controversial owner Joey Vento, who famously put up a sign reading, “This is America when ordering, please speak English” passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 71.

Joe Skats, who worked at Geno’s for about 15 years, says Joey Vento was a hard working man who worked until the day he died. “Four in the morning every day, and he’s working, he’s got his apron on.”

Manager Joseph Perno says as a tribute to Vento, Geno’s will remain open. “You know, he still has his son, his wife and my other aunt; his sister-in-law. I’m his nephew and we got employees that have been here for years that are going to just keep it going along.”

“It’s hard but he’s here,” Skats says. “He ain’t going nowhere! He’s going to lead us from up there, so we have to take every step as we go!”

Thirty-year employee Tommy Endris describes his boss as a character: “His views were his own, but he was a good hearted man, he was just — he was Joey Vento, that’s all! He was just one of a kind!”

Endris saw Vento just a few hours before hearing the sad news.

“And we were just talking about — you know he was joking around — I mean, you never know!!!”

He says Vento came in every morning to put in the orders, including on the day he died.

“He’s going to be missed by me, I’m gonna tell you that right now. Joe — I know you’re up there listening! God bless you, and rest.”

Perno says folks have been calling Geno’s non-stop about Vento. The family is asking for privacy during this difficult time.

Reported by Hadas Kuznits, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Dan Rakow

    Even a Chicagoan like to send My Prayer and thoughts to the Family,Friends and everybody at Geno’s Steak during this very difficult time period with the Passing of Joey Vento.

  • reddoggy

    I have been at Geno’s many times and at all different times and I have never seen disrespect from any worker toward any custiomer.

  • Mudley

    From Kansas: I’ve eaten at Genos EVERYTIME I came back to Philly! I speak English and I was treated decently. Wow…That’s AMERICA!

  • Justin Thomas Cohen

    God Bless Joey Vento.
    He was not a man to toot his own horn.
    He would surely express his oppinion about issues, but he would never brag about all the people he helped – especially all the minority children in this city – you will never hear about that, but somebody needs to tell it.
    Accusing this man of racism is absurd.

  • foopershmit

    Those south Philly folks are proud of their heritage, yet this guy would prefer not to serve a visitor from Italy that wanted to have one of his grease-laden cheese steaks if they could not order it in English… fuggetabout it!

  • JW

    He was not what everyone thought he was. I had a friend from out of town, wanted Genos, I told them be better places, without further ado, we went. When we went up to the window, placed order, someone in back was making duragotory statements, Blacks,etc..when the order was up, receive the sandwich & thru it at them.This man -what he is will not be missed..No thanks!!!
    He Speak English sign -please!!??

    • Angry Revolutionary

      Somewhoe your story doesn’t pass the smell test. And I’m telling you this straight out if you threw anything at these people you wouldn’t have walked away. You are an atypical punk. The exacty disease that this city is infected with.

  • CC

    there’s a man who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. I respected him for that. by speaking up he opened up dialog to discuss issues. i have no respect for people who speak bad of the deceased and it’s cowardly and mean to say unkind things when his family is grieving. you are a disgrace and for the poster of the video…you think one moment defines a man, there was a lot of good that this man did for many many people. you haven’t learned anything about life but how to condem and take cheap shots. learn what it means to have respect and class.

    • Angry Revoultionary

      Kudos CC

    • Donna Lauria


      Are you REALLY that stupid??? Speaking your mind and being abusive are two different things. Apparently you can’t understand the difference.

      Don’t open your mouth if you can’t sound half way intelligent. One moment DOES define a person because that one moment is born from other moments.

      It’s not cowardly to speak about the deceased, and who cares about his family??? They will go on being the same way he was – STUPID AND UNCARING TOWARD OTHER PEOPLE.

      • Angry Revolutionary

        Let’s take a look at stuoid and uncaring shall we. In the wake of the murder of five police officers Joey Vento had fundraisers to raise money for the families of the officers. Donating the profits from his restaurant. In addition he held a family for the victims’ families of 9/11 in which he donated the enitre amount if goods sold. Next, that nice park acorss the street from Genos, Joey donated a heft sum of money to have that park rehabbed. Joey gave back to the community.

        Sounds like a terrible, uncarng guy to me.

        Donna you suffer from a superior form of stupidity. And while I’m at it perhaps you should engage your brain before putting your mouth into gear!

      • CC

        Donna, Apparently you desevered what ever it was Joey had to say to you. he probaby called it just as he seen it with you. Selfish and obviously very narcisistic person whos only main focus in this life is themselves. If I’m coming across to you as only half way intelligent, that’s most likely because I’m at least a half more intelligent than you. you are the one who is coming across as uncaring to others. So what makes you different from what you say about the man. in your first sentence you are abusive, in your last sentence angrily uncaring about the deceased familly…how are you different? The pot calling the kettle a name. Joey probably thought you were loathsome and told you so.

  • ventojoey

    • Whatever

      OMG – this is the true Joey!!!!

  • William T. Shabazz

    The man was a bigoted nationalist! Perhaps now people of color will be welcome in his establishment.

    • Angry Revolutionary

      Ahh William if only we could get through a day without your psycho-babble

  • willie

    Joe Vento did something with his life which is much more than some of the bloggers have done.

  • Angry Revolutionary

    The amonunt of class and respect shown by people amazes me. People are so brave behind their keyboards. The man was a class act. He gave to the communtiy and the country. Raising money for fallen officer and for the fallen on 9/11. You may not respect his views but at lease show respect for the person. 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.

  • jack

    you are an idiot. Just like he was

    • Angry Revolutionary

      Oh Jack you’re so profound. When I grow up I want to be just like you.

  • Peter

    Who’s have thought so much greasy red meat would give you colon cancer and a heart attack?

  • kelprod

    Wow…my parents are right….they always told me “those cheesesteaks will kill ya'”.

  • Joey Vento, Owner Of Geno’s Steaks, Dies At 71 « CBS Philly

    […] Click here for reaction from Geno’s Steaks employees. […]

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