Scott Walker Tries Pat’s and Geno’s, Gets Heckled

Left, by Matt Stanley. Right, via Twitter.

Left, by Matt Stanley. Right, via Twitter.

South Philadelphians weren’t fans of Scott Walker when he stopped by two famed corner cheesesteak outlets.

The Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful ate cheesesteaks — which he apparently enjoys witout — at both Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks this afternoon.

He got heckled on Twitter for ordering that American cheese.

And for “scaring the little children”…

Matt Gelb, an Inquirer reporter, followed Walker’s movement from steak to steak, and reports that people weren’t happy that Walker skipped a line at Geno’s.

He also apparently couldn’t finish his second steak, but he did talk ball with some people from the area.

But why was Governor Walker here in the first place?

We’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out in the primary next May.

No More Confederate Flag at Geno’s

 

Geno's Steaks

Photo | Jeff Fusco

A Confederate flag sticker on a motorcycle displayed at Geno’s Steaks was removed after a customer took his complaint public Monday.

Phil Dahl complained this week to Philly.com about the sticker — on a neon-orange motorcycle built for the shop’s late founder, Joey Vento, displayed across the street from from the steak shop. His complaint came after the Charleston massacre renewed national debate over the flag’s symbolism.

“I’ve walked passed this monstrosity for four years now, and I just can’t believe no one has said anything about it,” Dahl told the website. “Maybe that says something about our own perceptions and blind spots to these sorts of things.”

Geno Vento, Joey’s son and current owner of the shop, on Monday had the sticker scraped from the motorcycle’s battery cover, and the motorcycle rotated 180 degrees.

Geno Vento told Philly.com. “The offending image has been removed from the public view.” Read more »

We Want Answers: Geno Vento, Cheesesteak Heir

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

It’s been nearly four years since your father, Joey Vento, died. What’s the one thing you wish people knew about you and your dad? Dad was a little more boisterous than me. But you know, I’m getting in his shoes and getting a little more boisterous.

I don’t get the sense that scrappiness is quite as much in your nature. I don’t know if he was argumentative — he was talkative and funny. I’m very approachable, down-to-earth, love to joke and make people laugh. The Philly experience — to be part of that is very honorable. Dad started in ’66 with six dollars. He borrowed $2,000 off my grandfather and turned it into the multimillion-dollar business you see.

His influence is still around. I understand you still have the “Speak English” sticker? Yeah, it’s still in the window. That was his legacy and his thing, and I’m honoring him by keeping it up.

Are you going to take any big political stands? No, I won’t. I’m just not a real political person.

You lost more than a hundred pounds about a year ago. Is the weight staying off? Yeah, actually it’s about 107 pounds. I’m at the gym, everything’s in moderation, maintaining, exercising and eating right. Every once in a while I have to go for a cheesesteak. I have to get my fix in.

You have a famous rivalry with Pat’s — There’s a place across the street?

That’s what I hear. But you guys are actually pretty friendly. Yeah, Frank [Olivieri Jr., the owner] is a good friend of mine. We talk all the time. I’m really good friends with his sister Danielle. You know, we’re both here to make money, we both have cheesesteaks, a great product. People like me, people like them. There are no hard feelings. People go crazy when they see me talking to Frankie or giving him a hug. They’re like, “Oh my God, you guys talk?” Yeah, we grew up together. He used to call my dad “Dad” as a joke: “Dad, where’s my allowance?” “Dad, I’m here to work.”

Who’s your favorite celebrity that you’ve had there? I would say hands down Joan Rivers. I would say Michael Bublé, Vince Vaughn —

Michael Bublé doesn’t strike me as a cheesesteak guy. His nickname for me is “Steaky.” And Justin Timberlake, back when *NSYNC was together, he used to come here as a pit stop before or after a show. About a month and a half ago he was here, and he ordered 50 cheesesteaks on his way out to his next city.

The Italian Market Festival is this month. People worry that the spirit of the old Italian Market is going away. No. I mean, they have new traditions coming in. Back when I was a kid, there were people in there that were 60, 70, 80 years old cutting the meat, doing the butchering. For the most part, generations of kids took it over. But some of them closed shop, and other people came in and put different restaurants and specialty stores in. I think it makes us diverse.

Why did you choose to stay? I enjoyed it. Working with Dad was definitely a challenge. He was like a dictator — there was no democracy. Being his son didn’t give me any leverage or extra points. But he taught me: With hard work, dedication and sacrifice, this is what you get in life. I’m very fortunate and very thankful for what I have.

Final question: What’s the best way to have a cheesesteak? Hands down, wiz with.

Originally published in the May 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Mark Sanchez Eats at Pat’s and Geno’s After Win

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Fan shares his cheese fries with Eagles QB Mark Sanchez | Image via 6 ABC

Last night the Eagles dominated the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football. And in what might be a record, ESPN went to the well worn cheesesteak trope six minutes into its 8 p.m. broadcast. That prompted native Philadelphian and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney to tweet, “My home city is the BIRTHPLACE OF THE UNITED STATES. Why must we be constantly relegated to the home of loose-meat pieces on a roll?”  No doubt, there’s much more to show in Philadelphia than just 9th and Passyunk. Incidentally, NBC’s Sunday Night Football deserves acknowledgement for consistently showing Philadelphia in a less stereotypical light during their broadcasts.

But what last night’s broadcast revealed, besides that analyst John Gruden did not react well to a Geno’s Steaks sandwich years ago, was that Mark Sanchez had not had a cheesesteak since joining the Eagles.

Sanchez, who is celebrating his birthday today, made good on his on-air statement that he would have cheesesteaks from both Pat’s and Geno’s if the Eagles won.

Check out the video » 

UPDATED: Geno’s On TV For “Drunk History”

Geno's Steaks

Photo | Jeff Fusco

UPDATE: The viewing party at SPBG has been cancelled, but the show is still on tonight.

So it looks like Comedy Central’s “Drunk History” series is taking on Philly tonight. Or cheesesteaks. Or both. In any event, we’ve been promised that, as a part of that, Geno’s Steaks is going to be mentioned.

No, I don’t know how much focus is going to be put on the cheesesteak shop. I don’t know if they’re going to be talking about any other restaurants. But apparently, there’s enough of Geno’s in the episode for them to be throwing a viewing party at neighboring South Philly Bar And Grill. From 9pm ’til 11pm, there’ll be cheesesteaks and beer specials ($2.50 Yuengling bottles and drafts, $1 off any Victory or Yards beers) and the episode will be shown at 10pm.

Geno’s [f8b8z]
Year Of The Cheesesteak [f8b8z]

Golden Tickets at Geno’s Steaks

Geno's Steaks

Geno’s Steaks | Jeff Fusco

Don’t be so quick to crumble up those cheesesteak wrappers because for the month of July, Geno’s Steaks is hiding golden tickets in five of them. And don’t worry, if you win, you won’t be getting sucked up into a Cheez Whiz-filled tube (most likely).

What the winner, and a guest, will get is a behind-the-scenes tour of Geno’s, lunch with Geno Vento and a seat at the Phillies vs. Mets game on August 10th.

The tickets will be randomly placed in the wrappers, but if you want to keep track of how many are left, follow #GenosGoldenTicket on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Geno spoke to the idea saying, “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is one of my favorite childhood movies – it brings back so many memories of being a kid in South Philly. I love the idea that my customers love Philly as much as I do. What better way to show them my appreciation?”

And who wouldn’t appreciate another incentive to eat cheesesteaks?

Geno’s Steaks [Official]
Year of the Cheesesteak [Foobooz]

 

A Healthy(er) Cheesesteak At Geno’s?

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Geno’s Steaks | Health food?

WHYY has this new(ish) health-based show attached to Newsworks called The Pulse. It talks to doctors and discusses high blood pressure and cholesterol and all those things that grownups care about. It’s a good show, but rarely catches my attention until, this morning, I heard them talking about cheesesteaks.

Read more »

Alan Richman Ranks His Ten Favorite Cheesesteaks

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Alan Richman, GQ Food editor and Philadelphia native has ranked his ten favorite Philadelphia cheesesteaks. In a single day, Richman and his crew of cheesesteak eaters managed to try 23-steaks and ranked the top-ten steak sandwiches in order.

There are plenty of zingers and a top-ten list that will be sure to be criticized. Unfortunately we don’t know which places he went to that didn’t make the list.

Here’s the top-ten list and some of our favorite zingers »

Today: Geno’s Steaks for Fifty Cents

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From noon to 2  p.m. today, Geno’s is celebrating its 47th anniversary by serving up cheesesteaks for just 50 cents (instead of the usual $9.50). Customers will also have a chance to spin Geno’s prize wheel for a chance at t-shirts, pens and sweatshirts. Spins are $5 and 100% of the proceeds go to The American Association for Cancer Research.

Geno’s Steaks [Official Site]

Photo by Pushnik Photography

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