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83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 01:34 PM
Philadelphia's Geno's Steaks Adopts English-Only Ordering Policy
Thursday, June 08, 2006

PHILADELPHIA ? Bistec con queso? Not at Geno's Steaks.

An English-only ordering policy has thrust one of Philadelphia's best-known cheesesteak joints into the national immigration debate.

Situated in a South Philadelphia immigrant neighborhood, Geno's -- which together with its chief rival, Pat's King of Steaks, forms the epicenter of an area described as "ground zero for cheesesteaks" -- has posted small signs telling customers, "This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING `SPEAK ENGLISH."'

"They don't know how lucky they are. All we're asking them to do is learn the English language," said Geno's owner Joseph Vento, 66. "We're out to help these people, but they've got to help themselves, too."

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said he posted the sign about six months ago amid concerns over immigration reform and the increasing number of customers who could not order in English when they wanted Philly's gooey, greasy specialty -- fried steak, sliced or chopped, in a long roll, with cheese and fried onions.

Of course, it's not as if native Philadelphians speak the King's English either. A Philadelphian might order a cheesesteak by saying something like, "Yo, gimme a cheesesteak wit, will youse?" ("Wit," or "with," means with fried onions.) To which the counterman might reply: "Youse want fries widdat?"

The traditionally Italian community near Geno's has become more diverse over the decades. Immigrants from Asia and Latin America have moved in, joining longtime residents and young professionals seeking reasonably priced rowhouses. In the past 10 years, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Mexican immigrants -- many of them here illegally, community leaders say -- have settled in South Philly.

Vento said his staff is glad to help non-native speakers order in English and has never turned someone away because of a language barrier.

But the policy has "really upset a lot of a people," said Brad Baldia of Day Without An Immigrant, a coalition of immigrant groups. "For some people, I think we're just going to say, `Le gusta Pat's."'

Juntos, a Hispanic neighborhood organization, said it plans to send people to Geno's to try to order in Spanish and may pursue court action, depending on what happens.

"His grandparents encountered the same racism and the same xenophobia," said Peter Bloom, the group's director. "Why would he begin that process over again?"

Vento said he has gotten plenty of criticism and threats. One person told him they hoped one his many neon signs flames out and burns the place down, he said. But he said he plans to hold his ground.

Customers placing orders on a recent morning seemed unfazed.

Angelica Marquez, 22 and originally from Puerto Rico, ordered in well-spoken English, but said some of her relatives struggle with the language. "They always come and just say `cheesesteak,"' Marquez said, adding that the policy "bothers her some" but not enough to keep her away.

When a non-English speaking customer showed up at the window a short time later, a clerk patiently coached him through the process. Eventually, both said "cheesesteak."

Vento, a short, fiery man with a ninth-grade education, arms covered in tattoos and a large diamond ring in his ear, also sells "freedom fries" to protest France's opposition to the Iraq war. He rails against Mumia Abu-Jamal, the black man who was convicted of killing police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 and has become a cause celebre among some death penalty opponents. Memorials to Faulkner are posted at his shop.

Those who market the city, often using images of Geno's and other famous steak shops, are watching with concern.

"I certainly wouldn't want a national audience to think it represented all of the wonderful cheesesteak makers in the whole city," said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. "This isn't representative of the Philadelphia attitude."

Competitors are seizing on the controversy.

Tony Luke's issued a statement saying it welcomes all customers "whether or not they speak a `wit' of English."

And a manager at Pat's, Kathy Smith, said of Geno's English-only policy: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life. I'd rather listen to the Spanish than the foul language of the college students."

SteelerFanInCA
06-09-2006, 01:53 PM
Interesting article. What difference does it make as far as what language you need to speak in order to place your food order? That's one way to loose business.

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 02:02 PM
Here's the thing........If my business is getting hammered with customers and I'm trying to spit out as many cheesesteaks as possible, do I have time to figure out what somebody that speaks zero English is attempting to order? It's crazy.

If anything, while I'm trying to figure out what Pedro or Yo-Hung are attempting to order, I have customers of Latino and Asian descent waiting behind him who actually took the time out to learn the language of this country. Eitherway there is a chance of me losing business. Personally, I would rather lose business by not serving those who can't speak a lick of English than sit there and give people an English lesson for twenty minutes.

SteelerFanInCA
06-09-2006, 02:10 PM
So are you saying that just because someone doesn't speak English they shouldn't be allowed to eat in this country? Or at least in public dinnings?

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 02:16 PM
So are you saying that just because someone doesn't speak English they shouldn't be allowed to eat in this country? Or at least in public dinnings?

I'm not stating that at all. People have the right to eat whenever and wherever they want. But I am stating that if I owned a food business and I am getting battered with customers, I don't have time to teach an English lesson. That's when it interfere's with my business. That gives me the right to place a sign on my joint that state's "Speak English or No Service". That's all. Why should my business suffer and why should I have to give an English lesson?

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 02:22 PM
On another note.......When I travel to other countries, I actually learn the basic vocabulary of the specific country that I'm visiting. If I actually decided to move to another country, you damn well better believe I'm making sure that I can fluenty speak that specific nations language. It only makes sense.

SteelerFanInCA
06-09-2006, 02:32 PM
I agree with you there on the business part. If you own a business you can pretty much state whatever you want that's within reasonable means. I am all for people making the efforts and getting the language down as well. I just kind of look at the other side of the coin. I can't tell you how many Chinese food places that I have been in where I totally screwed up in trying to pronounce some of the menu items. Yet in doing so, no body ever forced me or asked me to speak Chinese. I guess this can be touchy matter whatever way you look at it.

SteelerFanInCA
06-09-2006, 02:33 PM
On another note.......When I travel to other countries, I actually learn the basic vocabulary of the specific country that I'm visiting. If I actually decided to move to another country, you damn well better believe I'm making sure that I can fluenty speak that specific nations language. It only makes sense.
Ditto on that one.

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 02:34 PM
I can't tell you how many Chinese food places that I have been in where I totally screwed up in trying to pronounce some of the menu items. Yet in doing so, no body ever forced me or asked me to speak Chinese. I guess this can be touchy matter whatever way you look at it.

And where is that Chinese joint located? In China or in this country?

That's like me going to China, opening up a hamburger and hotdog joint and expecting Chinese customers to speak English. I'm a guest on their turf. Why would I expect them to be able to speak English? Why would Chinese people who own a joint in this country expect me to speak Chinese?

SteelerFanInCA
06-09-2006, 02:40 PM
Actually both. China and here. I did at least try and attempt to learn a little bit of the language while I was there. I know I totally hacked what I was trying to say but either way I made the effort. I think these same people often forget that they are a guest on our turf. Good talking with you, I'm jumping back over to the football talk now. :)

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 02:42 PM
For me, I can totally understand people in another country getting pissed at me for not being able to speak the language. Nice chat with you also brother. Take care.

CAH
06-09-2006, 04:05 PM
That's great. If they can't speak English, go to another restaurant.

Now if I could just say "English Only" to some of the tech people I get on the telephone, I'd be thrilled.

83-Steelers-43
06-09-2006, 04:34 PM
That's great.

You are correct, freedom is a great thing. Holding up customers in my establishment and I have the right to not serve you.

MattsMe
06-09-2006, 05:59 PM
Here's the thing........If my business is getting hammered with customers and I'm trying to spit out as many cheesesteaks as possible, do I have time to figure out what somebody that speaks zero English is attempting to order? It's crazy.

If anything, while I'm trying to figure out what Pedro or Yo-Hung are attempting to order, I have customers of Latino and Asian descent waiting behind him who actually took the time out to learn the language of this country. Eitherway there is a chance of me losing business. Personally, I would rather lose business by not serving those who can't speak a lick of English than sit there and give people an English lesson for twenty minutes.

:iagree:

Suitanim
06-09-2006, 06:24 PM
What people fail to realize is that if the planet has anything approaching a "Universal Language", it's English. I believe the standard for pilots the World over is English (meaning that if a Chinese pilot is in distress over Germany, his distress call will be in English). If you go to school in just about any Country in the World, English will be the primary foreign language taught.

All the rest of the World acknowledges the importance of understanding English...it's too bad that we don't, so much so that some of our own native kids can barely speak and spell it.

SteelCityMan786
06-09-2006, 11:35 PM
I have a better idea, why not hire people who know how to speak any other language anyone might speak. Take that racist restaraunt.

CAH
06-10-2006, 01:57 PM
I have a better idea, why not hire people who know how to speak any other language anyone might speak. Take that racist restaraunt.
Racist restaurant???? Uh huh, we have a Liberal here.:busted:

BAS
06-10-2006, 02:50 PM
For anybody that's ever been to Geno's... there's an ordering protocol, very much like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

With -- with fried onions
Wiz -- cheese wiz
Provolone -- provolone cheese

To place an order, it's a combination of those words... real simple right?

When you order, especially before a game or concert for tailgating purposes... there's usually a fairly long line of people waiting for their sandwich. And it runs smoothly only if people are following the protocol.

He probably shouldn't have posted a sign that says to speak English... but for first time visitors, a sign with the possible combos of ordering should be posted.

CAH
06-10-2006, 02:58 PM
BAS, we hicks never get to the big city.

LOL I cannot believe he's like the Soup Nazi. That is so funny.

Hammer67
06-11-2006, 11:23 PM
I have a better idea, why not hire people who know how to speak any other language anyone might speak. Take that racist restaraunt.


Racist? Interesting as the store owner is talking about spoken language and not race!!! :wtf:

3 to be 4
06-11-2006, 11:52 PM
one time i ordered the One Hung Guy and im afraid to tell you who came out of the kitchen

tony hipchest
06-11-2006, 11:57 PM
one time i ordered the One Hung Guy and im afraid to tell you who came out of the kitchen

you gotta watch it at them southern bbq dives.

3 to be 4
06-12-2006, 12:03 AM
There are Chinese places in Bostons Chinatown that serve Intestine Soup.

mmm mmm good
mmm mmm good

thats what Intestine Soup is...

mmm mmm good

tony hipchest
06-12-2006, 12:07 AM
intestines are what push shit out of the anus. who the f--k would wanna eat that?

MattsMe
06-12-2006, 12:19 AM
intestines are what push shit out of the anus. who the f--k would wanna eat that?

Far too many people, I'm afraid. :yuck:

3 to be 4
06-12-2006, 12:20 AM
they also had pork ball soup on the menu. I was never sure if they meant they made balls out of pork, or if it was the pigs balls.

I used to work downtown right along side Chinatown, and in the morning i would take the train to South Station and walk through Chinatown. One place that used to kill the chickens right there on the spot used to clean the chicken shit out of the pens by dumping them out on the sidewalk and then hosing it into the street. Now that was nice on a humid, July morning!

3 to be 4
06-12-2006, 12:44 AM
im afraid 83-Steelers isnt going to be too happy how this thread turned out either.

what was it about,now?

MattsMe
06-12-2006, 12:48 AM
what was it about,now?

I think it was about Bengal Brian Peppers.

CAH
06-12-2006, 12:04 PM
The owner of Geno's was a guest on the Laura Ingram's radio show via telephone. He had call waiting and got interrupted several times and he yelled at someone to "Turn off the call waiting." LOL

He said the only problem with language has been only the Spanish. He makes no exceptions and if the line is long, he bypasses them and said that he wasn't there to teach someone English or to learn Spanish. His parents, from Italy, didn't leave their home until they could manage English and they did and were proud.

I loved the guy and he certainly is a good America and a "soup Nazi". :getdown:

CAH
06-12-2006, 09:28 PM
I bet Puerto Ricans will be surprised to learn they aren't Americans.
I'll bet they'd learn English if they want to eat at Geno's.

Seriously, the illegals have already said they refuse to learn English and insist we bend for them and learn Spanish. I call that a lot of nerve.

Suitanim
06-13-2006, 08:07 AM
I bet Puerto Ricans will be surprised to learn they aren't Americans.

I don't think anyone got this....WHOOSH! Right over their heads.

Puerto Ricans are US Citizens via PR enjoying US commonwealth status.

Ambridge
06-13-2006, 08:51 AM
I'll bet they'd learn English if they want to eat at Geno's.

Seriously, the illegals have already said they refuse to learn English and insist we bend for them and learn Spanish. I call that a lot of nerve.

I work with several Latin Americans who know just enough English to get by and we always joke with them "Why don't you learn English.......you're in America". They reply with "Jeb Bush is a Governor of Florida and he speaks very good Spanish and George Bush, "The President" is his brother and he knows Spanish so maybe you can learn Espanol".

The thing that also cracks me up is that when they screw up and make mistake on the job the first they say when you question them is "No Habla Englese".

ARKIESTEEL
06-13-2006, 09:05 AM
What people fail to realize is that if the planet has anything approaching a "Universal Language", it's English. I believe the standard for pilots the World over is English (meaning that if a Chinese pilot is in distress over Germany, his distress call will be in English). If you go to school in just about any Country in the World, English will be the primary foreign language taught.

All the rest of the World acknowledges the importance of understanding English...it's too bad that we don't, so much so that some of our own native kids can barely speak and spell it.


Nope its money thats what everybody understands

Suitanim
06-13-2006, 09:25 AM
In the words of the Immortal "Stormtroopers of Death"

You come into this country. You can't get real jobs. Boats and boats and boats of you. Go home you ****in' slobs. Selling hot dogs on the corner. Selling papers in the street. Pushing, pulling, digging, sweating. Where you come from must be beat.
You always make us wait. You're the ones we hate. You can't communicate. Speak English or Die.
You don't know what I want. You don't know what I need. Why must I repeat myself. Can't you ****in' read? Nice ****in' accents. Why can't you speak like me. What's that dot on your head. Do you use it to see?
You always make us wait. You're the ones we hate. You can't communicate. Speak English or Die.
You always make us wait. You're the ones we hate. You can't communicate. Speak English or Die.

Hammer67
06-13-2006, 12:06 PM
I don't think it is asking too much to have English be the common language and require people to learn it if they are to be long term citizens of this country. I also think it is not being racist to reuire a certain language be spoken to be served at a private business. If McDonalds can require a shirt and shoes, does that make them racist? Why can't they require you speak English?

It's funny that there is such a knee jerk reaction to this from liberal organizations.

Hammer67
06-13-2006, 03:54 PM
I wonder if this asshat also refuses service to deaf-mutes because it's not his job to learn sign language.

I can understand if he doesn't want to hold up a line trying to communicate with someone. But this smacks of a political statement--otherwise he'd let people point at the menu. He needs to just STFU and make cheesesteaks. He's no different from Alec Baldwin or Barbra Streisand lecturing us about what to think.

Just like them, though, it's his right to make whatever statement he wants.

CAH
06-13-2006, 07:32 PM
I wonder if this asshat also refuses service to deaf-mutes because it's not his job to learn sign language.

I can understand if he doesn't want to hold up a line trying to communicate with someone. But this smacks of a political statement--otherwise he'd let people point at the menu. He needs to just STFU and make cheesesteaks. He's no different from Alec Baldwin or Barbra Streisand lecturing us about what to think.
You misunderstand him. He is a great American and is very proud of it. He resents people who think they can do anything they want and get away with it in America, illegally.

If it were up to me, I'd kick their butts out of here.

lamberts-lost-tooth
06-15-2006, 08:48 AM
I'll bet they'd learn English if they want to eat at Geno's.

Seriously, the illegals have already said they refuse to learn English and insist we bend for them and learn Spanish. I call that a lot of nerve.



I am with you on this BUT....here is my solution to immigration/welfare problem....For every hard-working hispanic we find in our country we grant them citizenship...then we deport an equal number of welfare recipients to Mexico.
How long before THEY build a wall?:smile:

Lyn
06-15-2006, 09:46 PM
I am with you on this BUT....here is my solution to immigration/welfare problem....For every hard-working hispanic we find in our country we grant them citizenship...then we deport an equal number of welfare recipients to Mexico.
How long before THEY build a wall?:smile:


I love this idea!

lamberts-lost-tooth
06-16-2006, 03:30 PM
I love this idea!


Think of all the tax money we can save!!! Win/Win situation as far as I am concerned!

CAH
06-16-2006, 06:26 PM
Build a damned wall, now!!!!!

All illegals should be deported. To please them, our guards could tell them good-bye in Spanish.

I.C. Lights
06-16-2006, 06:48 PM
What was happening was that people were ordering in Spanish and then the order would get messed up and they would insist on getting their money back. Geno got pissed and this whole thing got blown way out of proportion. Granted, he could have been a little less dramatic and found a better solution like, say, a picture guide, but to order a cheesesteak from that place you only need to know like four words. I think between forcing Geno to re-staff with bilingual employees and requiring customers to learn 4-5 words in English to order one of the best steaks in town, the burden is fairly placed on the customers.

silver & black
06-16-2006, 06:55 PM
I'm not stating that at all. People have the right to eat whenever and wherever they want. But I am stating that if I owned a food business and I am getting battered with customers, I don't have time to teach an English lesson. That's when it interfere's with my business. That gives me the right to place a sign on my joint that state's "Speak English or No Service". That's all. Why should my business suffer and why should I have to give an English lesson?
:thmbup:

Livinginthe past
06-17-2006, 12:20 AM
One thing I wonder is, all these Americans who think this is so great...if they travel overseas do they want to be accomodated in English?

Everyone knows that all you have to do to get Johnny Foreigner to understand English, is just speak a little louder.

NM

lamberts-lost-tooth
06-17-2006, 06:15 AM
One thing I wonder is, all these Americans who think this is so great...if they travel overseas do they want to be accomodated in English?


I've been to 14 different countries..and dont recall ever having a situation where I thought MY rights were violated when there was a language barrier.

CAH
06-17-2006, 10:49 AM
I've been to 14 different countries..and dont recall ever having a situation where I thought MY rights were violated when there was a language barrier.
That's because you're not Mexican. LMAO

Remember, they said that Americans should learn Spanish b/c America really belongs to them. Kick 'em out.

83-Steelers-43
06-17-2006, 10:49 AM
PS--I agree that all this is silly. Restaurants shouldn't have a language barrier...food is going to be pretty much the same in most languages and money is expressed in numerals.

Went through this already but here we go.....

When I go to another country, I make sure that I can speak and understand the basics. Asking for directions, ordering food and making hotel reservations are the three basics that I focus on before I travel outside of this country. If you don't, then expect to get less than polite treatment from people in the country that you happen to be visiting.

Now, If I decided to prosper in another country you damn well better believe I'm going to learn that countries language and not just for my own well-being, but out of pure respect for that specific country or culture.

lamberts-lost-tooth
06-17-2006, 11:06 AM
Went through this already but here we go.....

When I go to another country, I make sure that I can speak and understand the basics. Asking for directions, ordering food and making hotel reservations are the three basics that I focus on before I travel outside of this country. If you don't, then expect to get less than polite treatment from people in the country that you happen to be visiting.

Now, If I decided to prosper in another country you damn well better believe I'm going to learn that countries language and not just for my own well-being, but out of pure respect for that specific country or culture.


Exactly..there is much more disrespect given by those who expect a country/culture to adapt...then there is for a country/culture to ask an individual to adapt...