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Chink’s Steaks Sign No Longer Hanging In Northeast Philadelphia

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By Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you want one of the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, many will point you to the iconic establishment known as Chinks Steak’s in the Northeast.

For more than 60 years, Chinks Steak’s has cooked up the city’s staple sandwich.

But starting Monday, it will be known under a different name, Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop.

“It’s very exciting. It’s very sad in a way,” said owner Joe Groh. “We’ve been here for 64 years, but it’s new beginning.”

Groh took over ownership in 1999.

Five years later, a customer asked him to change the name, after feeling the word “Chink’s” was culturally insensitive, but Groh said he worried about losing business since the establishment had a strong following.

A petition with 10,000 signatures backed him up. After arbitration, it was ruled he didn’t have to legally change the sign.

But now, years later, he’s decided to go through with it.

“Over the years, it ate at me that it should be changed,” said Groh. “It’s time.”

The name came from the shop’s original owner — Samuel Sherman — who developed the nickname “Chink” during childhood and decided to use it when he opened his shop in 1949.

The change isn’t coming without its critics. Many in the neighborhood think Groh is pandering to pressure.

“I think they should have left it like it is, I mean it’s a shame,” said Northeast resident Robert Quinn.

Others are more accepting of the new name.

“I’m sorry they have to make the change, but they won’t lose business,” said Northeast Resident Dorothy Callahan. “They’re established here in this neighborhood.”

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