Dos Bistec Con Queso (On The Double)

According to Associated Press, the customer is not always right. Not in South Philly, at any rate.

An English-only ordering policy has thrust one of Philadelphia’s best-known cheesesteak joints into the national immigration debate.
Geno’s — which together with its chief rival, Pat’s King of Steaks, forms the epicenter of an area described as “ground zero for cheesesteaks” — has posted signs telling customers, “This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ‘SPEAK ENGLISH.’ ”
Of course, it’s not as if native Philadelphians speak the King’s English either. A Philadelphian might order a cheesesteak by saying something such as, “Yo, gimme a cheesesteak wit, will youse?” To which the counterman might reply: “Youse want fries widdat?”

Aside from the blatant racism in this act, it seems Geno’s owner, Joseph Vento, 66, is oblivious to the idea that customers run the show. He’s probably never heard of Web 2.0 either. But there’s one thing I’m fairly confident he has heard of—good old American competition. Go Pat’s!

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. We don’t have that problem in Miami. Speak to any fast-food employee in english and they will gladly reply in spanish.

  2. Sources say the Philly cheesesteak sandwich was invented by two brothers in Philadelphia’s Italian Market. Wonder if the originators always spoke English, or if they occasionally spoke Italian? Heaven forbid.

  3. Calling cheesesteak, ‘bistec con queso,’ is like calling a burrito, ‘a flatbread wrap.’

  4. am i being overly sensitive, or is there latent latinophobia present here?

  5. HighJive,
    If you really read my post, perhaps you will realize that Anglophobia is more accurate.