Restaurant Removes 'English Only' Sign After 10 Years

| by Zara Zhi
Joey VentoJoey Vento

A restaurant in Philadelphia finally removed a controversial sign asking customers to order in English.

Geno’s Steaks is one half of “Cheesesteak Vegas,” a famous intersection in south Philadelphia visited by tourists and politicians.

In 2006, Geno’s owner, Joey Vento, put up a sign on the ordering window which read, “This is America. When ordering, 'Speak English.'”

There was outcry from all over the world against Vento’s move, according to local publication, Billy Penn.

The sign was taken up with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, who in 2009, ruled the sign was not discriminatory.  

Vento said he enjoyed the attention he received and that the sign was a political statement.

"They made me famous throughout the world," Vento said after the commission's decision. "I'm way ahead of the game. I became a hero. I've got to thank them for that."

Vento died of heart failure in 2011 and his son, Geno, inherited the family business. But Geno holds different political views from his father and made some changes to the company.

As the new owner, he modified the menu and removed some of the restaurant's more offensive signs. But he didn’t take down the sign until now because “Joey’s dying wish to his son was for the sign to remain," according to a press release.

The business has thrived and Geno, who was named after his father's company, opened franchises in the city's Xfinity Live entertainment center and the Philadelphia International Airport. Even Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited the shop in September.

The sign has been quietly removed from the original shop, an employee told

The Geno’s staff member told Billy Penn the sign was indeed taken down and referred the reporter to a publicist.

“We just came in one day and it was gone,” the unnamed worker told Billy Penn. “They just did it quietly.”

Another employee declined to comment.

Sources: Billy Penn, / Photo credit:

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