The *other* iconic philly cheesesteak place is Geno's, a rival just across the street from Pat's. It was founded in 1966 by Joey Vento:
The man had two boxes of steaks, a few hot dogs, and $6 in his pocket when he turned on the grills at 9th and Passyunk. Neighboring joints predicted he’d last six months, tops.
Joey didn’t listen. He stuck to what he knew and what he knew was steaks. Joey learned the ropes working in his old man’s steak shop in the 40’s. It was in that kitchen that Joey mastered cooking a steak to mouth-watering perfection and grilling an onion so it had just enough bite.
Little by little the shop at 9th and Passyunk drew more attention. Before long, people were saying they were the best steaks they’ve ever had. Joey kept at it.
Business was booming in 1971 when Joey and his wife Eileen had a baby boy. Always one to do things his own way, Joey decided to name his son (yep, you guessed it) Geno.
As soon as he was old enough, Geno was right there beside his dad, learning about the family business. From 17 on, you could find him at the shop, making steaks, taking orders, and meeting with customers – learning every aspect of the business Joey built.There's a friendly competition between Geno's and Pat's, and it's common to see tourists walk from one shop to the other to compare. We did just that. I ordered the same cheeesesteak at Geno's as I did at Pat's: One Whiz wit -- aka, one cheesesteak with Cheez Wiz and onions.
Joey Vento passed away in 2011. Geno has since taken over the shop and is carrying on Joey’s legacy by serving up Philly’s famous cheesesteaks.