Joey Vento’s Dying Wish: Keep “Speak English” Sign at Geno’s

Last week, Eater Philly ran a photo of rapper Busta Rhymes hanging out at Geno’s Steaks in South Philadelphia. That was all well and good. But what really caught our interest was an update to the item, explaining that the “Speak English” sign is still being proudly displayed at Geno’s, because its preservation was late owner Joey Vento’s dying wish.

Geno’s recently retained Neff Associates, the same public relations firm that’s been handling the Joe’s vs. Chink’s racist cheesesteak drama. Neff PR director Kylie Flett explains the Geno’s sign situation in an email today:

I wanted to reach out to you personally regarding the newest addition to our client roster, Geno’s Steaks.

As you know, Geno’s is under new management since the passing of Joey Vento. Geno Vento, Joey’s openly gay son is the new owner and operator and I think it is important to inform you, that he does not share all of the polarizing views his Father was famous for.

I think it is also important for you to know that we have retained Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop with this growth. In fact, the work we did, and continue to do for Joe’s, really resonated with Geno Vento.

Our PR counsel and marketing recommendations (I am not sure if you are aware but we also have creative, media buying, social media, website design, etc services in-house) are being taken very seriously over at the Geno’s camp – this is the first time they have ever bought an agency or someone from outside the family into the daily operations of the business.

Our client has reported to us, that per our strong recommendation the ‘American’s don’t press # 2’ sign has been removed.

I can also tell you that we STRONGLY recommended to Geno Vento that the ‘speak english’ sign be removed also. Our recommendation is currently under consideration by the Geno’s Team. Unfortunately, Joey’s dying wish to his son was for the sign to remain, and Geno at this time is choosing to respect his Father’s request.

I can promise you that we have already, and will continue to push for the removal of this sign with our client, Geno Vento. And as a non-US citizen myself, I hope you understand how important this is to us.