Oh, Geno


Speaking of iffy citizen immigration protests… Philadelphia's landmark cheesesteak shop, Geno's, has made English the official language of ordering heart-stopping meat sandwiches.

[Owner Joseph] Vento, who lives in Shamong, put up the signs when the immigration debate seized national headlines six months ago.

With Geno's Steaks tattooed on his arm, Vento is used to publicizing things, especially what's on his mind. Speak English signs also poster his Hummer. He has driven through South Philadelphia blaring through the SUV's P.A. system denunciations of neighborhood business owners who hire illegal immigrants.

"I say what everybody's thinking but is afraid to say," Vento said.

I've been to Geno's, although I prefer the neighboring Pat's. I'm not sure if the experience of shooting through a line and uttering a sentence fragment like "Swiss cheese with" (cheesesteak with Swiss cheese and onions) is a meaningful test of English skills. I'm pretty sure I've wanted to be clear about the ingredients and pointed at what I wanted, which according to Vento is annoying and un-American.