English-only cheesesteak war settled

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The controversy over English-only ordering rules at Geno's cheesesteak joint in Philadelphia has claimed its first casualty. Harry Olivieri, who co-founded local rival Pat's King of Steaks in 1933, has died. Doctors conclude that a lifetime of consuming artery-clogging lard, combined with the shock of hearing Spanish spoken by fleeing Geno's customers, brought the cheesesteak inventor down at the youthful age of 90.

With this competitive loss, it's now even more imperative that the City of Brotherly Love's Commission on Human Relations force Geno's to remove its English-only sign, before any more Philadelphians—or just their feelings—get hurt. Meanwhile, do yourself a favor and skip Philly entirely in favor of Dino's Subs in Margate—for shore.

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  1. Contrary to hysterical press accounts, Geno’s does not refuse service to Spanish speaking customers.

  2. Tim, that shore pun was low. At least you didn’t link to that goddamn elephant.

    Please let H&R readers know that your family in Lebanon is safe and secure!

  3. …do yourself a favor and skip Philly entirely in favor of Dino’s Subs in Margate for shore.

    Or drive down to Wilmington and stop in at Casapulla’s on the Concord Pike.

  4. Just Tuesday I had a Philly Cheesesteak at IHOP. This was just subsequent to my primary care doctor prescribing a stress-test EKG.
    If ample-bosomed servers cause a restaurant to be called Hooters, what do we call a restaurant where all the servers only have one leg?

  5. Peggy’s.

    Kevin

  6. Stumpy’s

  7. How does this settle the war?

    Ruthless,

    Depends on which leg they have.

  8. crimethink,
    Nice try, but, naturally I was thinking only of female servers.

    ANSWER: IHOP

  9. If they’d heeded the calls for an early cease fire, this could have been avoided.

  10. Ruthless,

    That joke has to violate some provision of the Patriot Act.

  11. crimethink,
    Hippety hoppity.

    That just about does it for now for the likes of moi.

  12. Over the years many people have mentioned to me that you can’t get good Philly Cheesesteaks in California. I agree with that but after perusing Pat’s King of Steaks I am not sure that you can get a good Philly Cheesesteak in Philly either.

    OMIGOD!

    They put frikkin’ CHEEZWHIZ on it? WTF? I had Philly Cheese Steak on a pedestal. It was on the gotta do before I die list.

    It’s called Cheez Whiz because it tastes like someone whizzed in the cheese.

    Throw rocks at me if you will but I had no idea a true cheese steak from Philly was made with CHEESE WHIZ.

    Nathan’s never sold out like that and thankfully we plebes out west can now buy them.

  13. ……and the IHOP waitress’ name would be Ilene.

    Unless she was Asian.

  14. I actually like the cheezwhiz version. It works, and they didn’t sell out that just one of the ways they do it. Also you have the options for the other types of cheese if you would like. And screw Nathans, that is selling out. Having come from the area I have to say I really don’t have preference on southeastern pa cheesesteaks but if we doing the pats vs genos I go with pats. But overall you can usually find a good cheesesteak in anytown in southeastern Pa, most without cheezwhiz if thats how you like it.

  15. Common,

    I am still convinced that only people from Philly can truly understand the wonder that they seem to think the cheesesteak is. For my part, I have accepted that it is something foreign whose greatness I will never understand, like the cinema of Bunuel or Latin American soap operas.

    A New York hot pastrami on rye from Katz’, on the other hand; that is magic.

  16. “it’s now even more imperative that the City of Brotherly Love’s Commission on Human Relations force Geno’s to remove its English-only sign”

    I hope this is said tongue-in-cheek… IMO, forcing a business to comply with some Commission, over a petty and silly issue like this, is an abuse of gov’t power.

  17. Ahhhh, Pat’s and Geno’s are way overrated anyway. Tony Luke’s is the best cheesesteak in South Philly for my money, although I’ve never been to Sarcone’s. Steve’s and Chink’s (yes that it’s name, and yes, people recently tried to make an issue out of it)are the best in the Northeast.

  18. I had a GREAT cheesesteak last night at Dumser’s Dairyland in Ocean City, MD that came with a side of Lipitor. (substituted fries for chips and had a 16 oz chocolate malt for desert to boot – get me a hospital bed right now!).

    And the waitress – she’s a college student from Russia. From what I can tell, nobody would be working on the shore (“Downey O-shun, Hun” for my Baltimoron friends) if it weren’t for foriegners. And they seem to work harder and be nicer than most of the American kids working at resturants back home. Hmmmm…

  19. I just don’t get the “libertarian” objection to this. It was this guy’s business and property. If he wants his customers to recite Attic Greek before serving them that is his business. People who can’t speak English just won’t eat there. If he chooses to loose their business that is his choice. What the hell is the problem. To me being a libertarian at its heart means one thing, “when its my place and my property screw you and the government I can do what I like.”

  20. A New York hot pastrami on rye from Katz’, on the other hand; that is magic.”

    You are soooo right. And the cornbeef…fuckin’ A. Heaven.

    But I am from NM.
    I’ll put the enchiladas at Nellie’s in Las Cruces up against cuisine from anywhere.

  21. At Nellie’s they will let you order in English, if’n you no habla…

  22. I am sympathetic to the idea that since it is his store, he can require that English be spoken at his store. However, I have a hard time seeing the difference between this requirement and, say, requiring that all of your customers have white skin. What is the difference?

    Should we not have anti-discrimination laws? (I sometimes lean this way; I don’t understand why you’d want to eat at a store which didn’t want you as a customer!)

  23. >They put frikkin’ CHEEZWHIZ on it? WTF? I had
    >Philly Cheese Steak on a pedestal. It was on the
    >gotta do before I die list.

    Okay, pet peeve time. Contrary to what the rest of the country seems to think, not all cheese steaks are Philly cheese steaks. Specifically, a Philly cheese steak has chopped (not ground) meat, cheese whiz, AND NO LETTUCE AND TOMATOES.

    God help you if you put lettuce and tomatoes on my cheese steak.

  24. Albert,
    No, we should not have private anti-discrimination laws. That’s what being a libertain is all about. And I don’t think Tim is really making any libertarian objection to Geno’s policy. He’s just point out what asses they are (which, in a libertarian world, is the proper response to idiots like this). As for Dino’s though, Tim is way out of line. Geno’s and Pat’s are both Philly Cheesestake places. A Philly Cheesestake is not a traditional cheesesteak. Philly cheesestakes are what Spam is to Pigs. Though I agree that Dino’s is one of the best regular cheesestake operators in the country, to mention them in the same breath as Pat’s or Geno’s is insulting and wrong. Pat’s and Geno’s should only be compared to their low class Philadelphia-style brethren. Leave the real cheesesteak opperators out of this.

  25. As for Dino’s though, Tim is way out of line. Geno’s and Pat’s are both Philly Cheesestake places. A Philly Cheesestake is not a traditional cheesesteak. Philly cheesestakes are what Spam is to Pigs. Though I agree that Dino’s is one of the best regular cheesestake operators in the country, to mention them in the same breath as Pat’s or Geno’s is insulting and wrong. Pat’s and Geno’s should only be compared to their low class Philadelphia-style brethren. Leave the real cheesesteak opperators out of this.

    What can I say? You are correct, sir!

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