Joseph Vento was profiled in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday; he owns the famous cheesesteak stand Geno's Steaks, and despite the fact that his Italian-born grandparents spoke broken English (just like my Italian-born great-grandparents), he posts a sign at his shop that reads,
This is AMERICA WHEN ORDERING "SPEAK ENGLISH"
(Love those extra quote marks, Joe.)
Geno's sits at Ninth and Passyunk, the hub of Little Italy turned home to thousands of Mexicans.
Some try to order a cheesesteak. And it bugs Vento if they can't ask for American cheese, provolone or the classic -- Cheez Whiz -- without pointing.
"If you can't tell me what you want, I can't serve you," he said. "It's up to you. If you can't read, if you can't say the word cheese, how can I communicate with you -- and why should I have to bend?
"I got a business to run."
Best comment on that is from The Philadelphia Weekly's blog:
how does a deaf person order at Geno's?
Vento's a real charmer:
He has driven through South Philadelphia blaring through the SUV's P.A. system denunciations of neighborhood business owners who hire illegal immigrants.
Again, from the Weekly's blog:
Ahh, yes, the old American tradition of going around a neighborhood and blasting your stereo and telling your neighbors you hate them.
And there's this:
Vento is lashing out at ... self-assertion by immigrants: "I don't want somebody coming here to change my culture to their culture," he said.
In that case, Vento, don't you think you ought to take the pizza steak off your menu? Oh, and lose the provolone. That stuff's Eyetalian food! This is America, dammit!
(Links via Daou Report and A Big Fat Slob.)