Geno’s Steaks founder Joey Vento died earlier this evening of a massive heart attack, he was 71. Vento opened Geno’s at 9th and Passyunk in 1966 with as the legend goes, “$6 in his pocket, two boxes of steaks and some hot dogs.”
In 2006 Vento achieved international notoriety for his “THIS IS AMERICA. WHEN ORDERING, PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH” sign. Vento also gave thousands of dollars to charities and the needy.
Mayor Michael Nutter issued this statement hours after Vento passed away, “Joey Vento was a colorful, larger-than-life Philadelphian who loved his city and excelled as a businessman. Mr. Vento had strongly held views that were matched by a commendable desire to give back to his community.”
The 24-hour cheesesteak stand remained open despite Vento’s death.
Vento is survived by his wife, son and one brightly illuminated cheesesteak stand at 9th and Passyunk.