Started by Mr. Vento in 1967, Geno’s — like Pat’s — is open 24-7, its patrons inching up to the windows and usually saying, “Whiz, with,” indicating that they want the paper-thin strips of sizzled beef on a hero topped with Cheez Whiz and grilled onions.
“Without” means hold the onions. (…)
Mr. Vento was no stranger to controversy. In 2005 he posted signs at Geno’s that read, “This is America: When ordering please speak English.” Critics asserted that the signs were discriminatory. In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Vento said the critics were ignoring the word “please,” adding: “I am not demanding it. It just makes things a lot easier. And the bottom line is, like I said before, nobody gets refused.”
In 2008, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations ruled, 2-to-1, that the signs did not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.