No Emparedado de Bistec con Queso al Estilo Philadelphia

The debate about English as the official language of the United States rages on, but the most popular of the Anglo-Frisian languages is now the official language of Geno's Steaks, the iconic cheesesteak purveyor in Philadelphia.

In a 2-1 vote, a Commission on Human Relations panel found that two signs at Geno's Steaks telling customers, "This is America: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH,'" do not violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance....

[Shop owner Joe] Vento has said he never refused service to anyone because they couldn't speak English. But critics argued that the signs discourage customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop.

Geno's owner was pessimistic after a negative ruling from the commission a year ago found probable cause against Geno's for discrimination:

Vento had threatened to go to court if he lost. His attorney, Albert G. Weiss, said he was "pleasantly surprised" by Wednesday's decision.

"We expected that this was not going to go our way," Weiss said.

For more, watch Tucker Carlson interview the deliciously archetypal owner of Geno's, who makes the excellent point that it's unlikely people who don't speak English will be offended by the sign, since they can't read it.

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  • ||

    Anybody know why Tucker Carlson was taken off the air?

  • Ali||

    I have no problem Geno's putting up that sign. But I am not sure where he's getting America=English from? Is it law (already)? If not, next time I am there, I will place an order in Arabic. If they don't serve, they loose. I can always get food elsewhere (and place the order in English only because they do not make a big fuss about it).

  • ||

    This reminds me to stop by Pat's on my way home tonight.

    Of course, I have no problem with a private business owner requiring customers to speak English and this is the right decision. Hopefully, our long metropolitan nightmare is over and everyone can go back to ignoring the 2"x3" signs now like we used to.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    Property rights. Property rights. Property rights. Property rights.

    It would seem to me that if this sign were discrimination it would create a de facto positive obligation on PRIVATE businessnes to honor every order that weren't in English.

    That wouldn't be a problem with the way I order; I just look at the pictures on the menu and point.

  • ||

    Yeah, but can I pay in Pesos?

  • javier||

    how is that even a problem?? In the private sector you should be able to run a business in klingon if you feel so inclined. and since when can't businesses use the "we reserve the right to refuse service to anybody"?

  • ||

    In Phila. like in, say, Cancun. If they want your business and you don't speak native, they'll figure it out. No business has an obligation to keep translators on hand

  • robc||

    javier,

    since when can't businesses use the "we reserve the right to refuse service to anybody"?

    1964.

  • Kolohe||

    bookworm-
    I assume ratings. And I too am a little dissapointed because he was finally stepping out of his hack bow-tied made for tv personna.

    And this But critics argued that the signs discourage customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop. always strikes me as weird. I mean 'critics' by definition, don't like the way he's doing business. So why are pointing out ways that he may lose revenue? From a Sun-tzu pov you generally don't point out your enemies weakness to him and tell him how it hurts him.

    I agree with DR above.

    I have a moral -and legal - problem with water fountains and public schools, because those are indeed publically funded goods/services.

    But I just a moral problem -and hence none of my business, and I mean that literally - with for instance 1950's Greensboro lunch counters.

  • charlie||

    Yeah, yeah, the Geno's owner should be allowed to require his customers to order in English. But just because he should have the legal right to do so doesn't make him any less of an jerk.

    The tacky pro-cop propaganda he covers his establishment with only further confirms that this guy is, as Dick Cheney once said, "a major league asshole."

    Plus, Jim's on South Street is better.

  • ||

    Does Geno's still sell freedom fries?

  • Episiarch||

    What if I order in West Frisian? Or Scots?

  • ||

    Anybody know why Tucker Carlson was taken off the air?

    Consistently poor ratings.

  • ||

    As was mentioned when this whole kerfuffle blew up the first time, since when is a "Cheeze Wit" English?

  • Colin||

    The Dice Man once had a bit, "There should be a sign at airport that says, 'if you don't speak the language, . . . get the fuck out of the country!'"

  • JCoke||

    I went and read the Regulations for the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations... Just saying that makes me shudder, and reading about it is worse. Newbie question here- my understanding is that the bill of rights doesn't always apply to local governments- so residents have to grin and bear the overbearing piousness, or move?

  • Click \'n\' Learn||

    The subtext in this case - of course not even alluded to by KMW - is that the far-left was up in arms about this, and their governmental division went into action. And, those who support IllegalImmigration for economic reasons - despite opposing the far-left in other ways - assisted them in various ways. Corporate welfare enablers don't have any opposition to far-left "Human Relations panels" or "human rights groups", just so long as they keep the cheap labor flowing in order to benefit corrupt corporations.

    For more on the *state* HRC (the one here is from the city), see this. Those are the types of people sites like Reason are more than willing to oblige.

  • ||

    The Dice Man once had a bit

    Good Lord, did you just quote Andrew Dice Clay?

  • Learn This||

    Hey click and learn, it is in fact possible to both allow people who would like to work into this country, and let people decide what language they want to run their businesses. All you have to do is stop sticking your nose everywhere it doesn't belong.

    And stop subscribing to irrational fear.

  • ||

    Human Rights commissions are stacked full of self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual socialist assholes who are unable to find gainful employment.

  • ||

    What the heck is "emparadado"? Babblefish isn't translating it.

  • ||

    Anybody know why Tucker Carlson was taken off the air?

    Because he's a fool?

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Order in Scots and get their famed cheesehaggis sandwich.

  • ||

    The eagle on the sign is rather sinister-looking.

  • ||

    Chicago Tom, isn't 5 viewers a good rating on MSNBC?

  • thoreau||

    A guy with an accent that thick has no business complaining about anybody else's linguistic skills.

  • ||

    This is America:

    Please refer to Florida as "Flowered"

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Anybody know why Tucker Carlson was taken off the air?

    Public support of Ron Paul......

  • thoreau||

    Lamar-

    And Colorado should be called by its English name: "Colored."

    Um, on second thought, that might be a bit problematic.

    Mountain-America.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    This is America:

    Please refer to the southwest as Aztlan.

  • ||

    I have no problem Geno's putting up that sign. But I am not sure where he's getting America=English from? Is it law (already)? If not, next time I am there, I will place an order in Arabic. If they don't serve, they loose. I can always get food elsewhere (and place the order in English only because they do not make a big fuss about it).

    Get four or so of your anglo friends to accompany you. Then you all walk out. I've been in the "don't know the local language" situation so many times in my life, I could never consider turning away someone over it.

    Plus I'm a greedy bastard.

  • ||


    The Wine Commonsewer | March 20, 2008, 6:07pm | #

    This is America:

    Please refer to the southwest as Aztlan.




    Governed by Aslan, of course.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Are this guy's cheese-steaks really that good? I mean, to turn away business. If so, I guess more power to him, though like it's been said before, being allowed to "do as thou wilt" doesn't maketh thee any less of a jerk.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Hey, Tee, I think the English version of Colorado is Colorado.

    However, it loosely means 'colored red' in Spanish.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Aresen:

    If you were a Shadowrun player, you'd know that Aztlan was governed by a great Feathered Serpent, not some lion.

  • J. P. Carlo||

    No Emparedado de Bistec con Queso al Estilo Philadelphia

    You forgot to say, por favor.

  • atrevete||

    "Emparadado" sounds like a garbled version of "empanada" - that is "breaded",i.e. "sandwich".

    Fun fact: I would often hear kids ordering "apple pie de cherry" in the McDonalds in Puerto Rico. Good times.

  • ||

    J sub D

    Amen

    If, on my recent trip, the Spanish people I dealt with had had the same attitude to my miniscule Spanish skills as Mr. Vento has to his customers without English skills, I'd have starved to death.

  • ||

    SWDWTLHJ

    "If"

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Oh, Geno can't even hold a candle to this guy

  • ||

    If I don't speak your language, I can't take your order. I may want your money, but I can't give you what you want if I don't understand what you're saying.

    This didn't need a court ruling, but then again, it didn't need a provocative sign in the window, either. You just need to answer the customer politely and honestly with, "I'm sorry, I don't understand."

    Rude Restauranteur, meet Intrusive Government. Controlled Media, meet Citizenry Successfully Distracted from Economic Meltdown Crisis by Manufactured News Item Designed to Press Ethnic Hot Buttons.

  • ||

    "Are this guy's cheese-steaks really that good? I mean, to turn away business."

    Pretty good, but they benefit from the conflation of 'good food' with 'tourist attraction'.

  • johnl||

    It's the principle that matters. People should be getting on planes, go to Chicago, and getting a real sandwich with beef, peppers, onions, and *no cheese*.

  • ||

    "If I don't speak your language, I can't take your order. I may want your money, but I can't give you what you want if I don't understand what you're saying."

    Then your competition, which makes it easy to order with minimal language skills (by number or pointing at a picture) is going to take business that you're needlessly rejecting.

    Given the weak dollar, there are going to be a lot more foreign tourists wanting to try the local specialty. If Geno's doesn't want their business, it's their right, but it's bloody stupid.

  • thoreau||

    TWC-

    As Lamar explained, we're translating state names. "Florida" is in fact "Flowered" and the state-previously-known-as-California is in fact "Hot Oven."

  • ||

    "Are this guy's cheese-steaks really that good? I mean, to turn away business."

    Geno's and Pat's are grossly overrated. There are much better Cheese Steaks in Philly

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    As Lamar explained, we're translating state names. "Florida" is in fact "Flowered" and the state-previously-known-as-California is in fact "Hot Oven."

    And "Virginia" is also known as "Won't-put-out-sylvania."

  • ||

    thoreau | March 20, 2008, 6:32pm | #

    TWC-

    As Lamar explained, we're translating state names. "Florida" is in fact "Flowered" and the state-previously-known-as-California is in fact "Hot Oven."


    And I'd always thought "California" meant "hot sex".

  • atrevete||

    And isn't Pennsylvania "Penn's woods"? And Philadelphia - "Brotherly Love"? So in English it would be "Bro-love Cheese Steaks" or something like that.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    "Bro-love Cheese Steaks"

    which used to be illegal in Texas...

  • First Little Pig||

    But if his argument is that those who don't speak English won't be offended by the sign bcse they can't read it, how can he possibly think that the sign is effective in the first place?

    Oh, I support whatever the owner of an establishment wants. Smoking included.

  • ||

    If I don't speak your language, I can't take your order. I may want your money, but I can't give you what you want if I don't understand what you're saying.

    I have an extensive list of nations that I could order food in without knowing the language and the worker not knowing English.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Tee, and Colorado in fact means colored red.....

    :-)

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    And California was named after Califia the Amazon Queen (from a 16th Century novel) back when the Spanish still thought it was an island.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    And California, in fact, means you're screwed if you move here.

  • ||

    Are this guy's cheese-steaks really that good? I mean, to turn away business.

    I think the intent of the signs is to GAIN business overall by attracting people who don't like immigrants, and gaining more sales thereby than the ones lost by people taking offense.

    It's market segmentation.

  • TallDave||

    it's unlikely people who don't speak English will be offended by the sign, since they can't read it.

    This has inspired me to hang a huge banner at work reading "FUCK YOU" in Swahili.

    I'll tell everyone it says "Peace and Happiness."

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    prolefeed:

    I guess I can see that, but haven't we kind of been seeing for a while now that the "we hate immigrants" crowd isn't really that big? I know that it's a notable minority that hadn't been catered to by politicians much until recently. However, there was a huge press toward it recently among the Republicans. Most of the time politicians try running on this issue, they seem to lose.

    I'd imagine that the same thing will happen in a business setting. The Geno's owner is, I think, vastly overestimating the numbers of the crowd he's trying to appeal to.

  • Geotpf||

    "First Little Pig | March 20, 2008, 6:54pm | #

    But if his argument is that those who don't speak English won't be offended by the sign bcse they can't read it, how can he possibly think that the sign is effective in the first place?

    Oh, I support whatever the owner of an establishment wants. Smoking included."

    How about refusing to serve black people?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    TallDave: I have almost that very thing on my office wall in Heiroglyphics.

    It looks like:

    Little sideways pointing man,
    Sun,
    Ibis,
    Flowery thing,
    Squiggle,
    Woman sitting.

  • Baylen Linnekin||

    The AP on the controversy in 2006:

    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?"



    Thankfully, it's not hard to find a better and less xenophobic sub in the city.

  • ||

    The guys a fat dirtbag who can't speak English himself and puts sinister and aggressive signs all over his tacky establishment. Eat elsewhere, like Pat's. Same rudeness and carnie food but more equitably distributed.
    One question: everyone keeps saying there are better cheesesteaks to be had in Philly, where exactly? I only go up there every couple of weeks to visit my girlfriend. Help me out...Chicago Tom?

  • ||

    edit guy's...better to be more meticulous when jumping into the proper English fray

  • ||

    So what do I call the Grand Tetons?

    I'm familiar with Rat's Mouth, Smelly Onion, and Red Stick. And the school called Our Mother.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    the deliciously archetypal owner of Geno's, who makes the excellent point that it's unlikely people who don't speak English will be offended by the sign, since they can't read it.

    Also known as the "Tim Allen - For Richer or Poorer" principle.

    "Are the Amish gonna watch the movie and complain?

    I didn't think so."

  • ||

    pinko,

    The Philly Cheesesteak is by its very nature crap. Arguing about the best one is like arguing who makes the best twinkie, or the best spam sandwich. The best cheesesteaks, not Philly Cheesesteaks, but cheesesteaks, in the area are found in Atlantic City in a place called The White House. Dino's Subs in Margate (one town over on the same Island) makes a nearly identically tastey cheesesteak. The whole Pat's/Geno's/Jim's/Tony Luke's nonsense is exactly that. If for some reason you want to eat a Philly Cheesesteak, get it from Pat's. No better than the others in terms of taste, but that's where Rocky Balboa goes, and if it's good enough for Rocky, it should be good enough for you.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The Philly Cheesesteak is by its very nature crap

    gotta be, it has Cheez Whiz on it.

    There's a reason why its called Cheez WHIZ....

  • Philly Guy||

    If you really want to be in the know. Go to Tony Lukes on Oregon Ave. Their steaks are decent, but their Pork Italiano is most excellente. Roast pork with broccoli rabe and aged provolone, yum!

  • The \"Real\" Philly Guy||

    Another thing on the Pat's vs Geno's thing. Geno's serves french fries and has kickin hot sauce and pats doesn't. So I go to Geno's xenophobia and all.

  • The \"fake\" Philly Guy||

    Whiz is one of food science's greatest achievements, don't hate.

  • ||

    I am a Philly native, and Jim's is the Idea Steak to me. I grew up thinking that's what a Philly cheesesteak was.

    FatDrunkandStupid, one word for you: blasphemy.

  • ||

    I saw someone on the tv this morning describe Pennsylvania as the state wit Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other side with Alabama in between.

  • Philly Guy||

    Philadelphia has seceded to NJ.

  • ||

    But critics argued that the signs discourage customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop.

    Wow, that's nice. Anybody know how I can procure this free advice about how to best run my business? Professional consulting is usually frikking expensive as hell. They don't usually speak up like this without charging an arm and a leg.

    Oh, what? You mean these "critics" weren't actually concerned about the financial state of the steakshop? So, really: Why do they, um, give a shit?

  • ||

    So what exactly is Spanish for, "inedible, greasy dreck served up by bigoted morons"...

  • ||

    Oh by the way, for a real cheesesteak, go to Casapulla's in Wilmington...

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I saw someone on the tv this morning describe Pennsylvania as the state wit Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other side with Alabama in between.

    I wondered off on the wrong side of the Pa Turnpike in Breezewood once. I can assure you, it made Alabama look like Manhattan.

    A good friend who lived in the 'Burgh used to remark that West Virginia existed so that people in Pittsburgh would have something to look down on.

  • dhex||

    what would he do if you ordered in middle english?

  • ||

    Your friend is incorrect. Pittsburgh is the capital of West Virginia.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Your friend is incorrect. Pittsburgh is the capital of West Virginia.

    At that Jim is ROTFOHMVLHAO

    Rolling on the floor of his mausoleum vault laughing his ass off (or what's left of it).

    One thing I noticed about Pittsburgh....lots of missing teeth. What's up with that?

  • ||

    Try it, and you'll see it's true. Saying, "I come to work, and I brought my lunch" just isn't as funny without a thick, impenetrable accent. That's a Nomeansno reference for those of you not interested in popular music.

  • Mike Laursen||

    And California was named after Califia the Amazon Queen (from a 16th Century novel) back when the Spanish still thought it was an island.

    So, was that novel, Las Sergas de Esplandián, considered a titillating lesbian tale by 16th Century standards? A translation describes the Amazons as having "vigorous bodies" and Queen Califia being "statuesque in proportions, more beautiful than all the rest, and in the flower of her womanhood". It goes on to talk about the Amazons having "carnal unions" with the men they capture (before offing them). Would explain why this particular novel was on the minds of the Spanish sailors who named California.

  • ||

    "makes the excellent point that it's unlikely people who don't speak English will be offended by the sign, since they can't read it."

    No, it's not a particularly good point. Many people can speak a language without being able to read it and vice versa.

  • ||

    The eagle on the sign is rather sinister-looking.


    Yeah, that eagle looks like MechaGodzilla

  • Taktix®||

    One thing I noticed about Pittsburgh....lots of missing teeth. What's up with that?

    Oh, yeah. Wait to bash Pittsburgh when I'm not around...

    Honestly though, after being out of there for two years, I'd have to say all the Pittsburgh bashing is not unwarranted.

    The place had the potential to be a great city about 40 years ago, but a series of corrupt leaders and statists drove a once great city into the ground.

    I saw someone on the tv this morning describe Pennsylvania as the state wit Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other side with Alabama in between.

    Yeah, that about sums it up. Good, cheap skiing out there, however...

  • ||

    The best part is that the sign isn't even good English. What are the quotes for? Does he want people to only pretend to speak English?

  • ||

    One thing I noticed about Pittsburgh....lots of missing teeth. What's up with that?

    1) Inbreeding leads to lowered strength of tooth enamel

    2) They are getting knocked out by Clevelanders

    Take your pick.

  • ||

    "I saw someone on the tv this morning describe Pennsylvania as the state wit Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other side with Alabama in between."

    If you travel around the US enough, you'll discover that every state has its Hicksvilles. Even in NY, with all its supposed sophistication, I've gassed up at places that seemed stright out of "Deliverance".

  • ||

    Show Geno's. Just head 2 blocks north on 9th street and go to Taqueria Veracruzana (on an anchor corner of what's known as the Italian Market). Let's see if the embedded link works:


    reply to this

  • ||

    It's Semana Santa, everybody! Layback and have a good time already!

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