Joey Vento, the owner of the longtime Philly cheesesteak joint known as Geno's Steaks (Roadfood.com review), died last night of a massive heart attack. He was 71. Mr. Vento [edited to remove incorrect reference to Jim's Steaks] opened Geno's in 1966 at the corner of 9th and Passyunk, across the street from Philadephia's most famous purveyor (and possibly the inventor) of the cheesesteak, Pat's Steaks (Roadfood.com review).
Mr. Vento was probably as famous locally for his outspoken politics as he was for the sandwiches he served. Those sandwiches were, and still are, old-school classics (by which we mean the meat is not hacked up into hash and piled to overflowing in the Italian roll). We send our condolences to the friends and family of Joey Vento.