Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
|Front entrance to Joe’s Steak on Torresdale|
|1949 73 years ago|
|6030 Torresdale Avenue|
|1 W Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19123|
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop, formerly named Chink’s Steaks, is a cheesesteak restaurant founded in 1949 in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Controversy over the restaurant’s former name led to the owner renaming it. A second restaurant location opened in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia in 2015. In addition to its cheesesteak sandwich specialty, the company sells other types of sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and other foods.
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop 6030 Torresdale Ave Philadelphia
Are you in the mood for some American food? Well, what better place than Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop right here in Philadelphia! Besides being known for having excellent American food, other cuisines they offer include Steakhouse, Caterers, Sandwiches, and American.
Looking for Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop prices? Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop has an average price range between $4.00 and $11.00 per person.
When compared to other restaurants, Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop is inexpensive, quite a deal in fact!
Depending on the American food, a variety of factors such as geographic location, specialties, whether or not it is a chain can influence the type of menu items available. Here at Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop, you’ll have options for Specials, Sundaes, Sandwiches, Milkshake Flavors, and Eggs Creams and more. From there, you can expect to choose from some of the best menu items like:
- Thirsty Thursdays
Trying To Sell Cheesesteaks In Philadelphia Isn’t Easy
If you want to know what the current economic/employment situation is like, consider this: it’s becoming difficult to sell cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Groh said about the decision to close his store, “It took the weight of the world off my shoulders.”
Not too long ago, he had 17 employees. Last summer, sales started to slip. Now, some days he has only eight employees and he can’e even open if some workers don’t show up.
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Joe Groh At His Fishtown Shop
After running into that situation multiple times, Groh decided it might be a good time to hire a PR firm. He rang one upand promptly got turned down.
No way, were not working with a business called Chinks, public relations pro Kylie Flett remembers saying. Eventually, however, she did take Groh on as a client, and helped him spearhead the name change. Which brought the wrath of the aggrieved Northeast Philly originalists down on her head, too someone even wrote letters to her alma mater La Salle, imploring the university to revoke her degree.
Despite the continued backlash, which Groh estimates is perpetrated by around 20 percent of customers at the Wissinoming shop, Joes Steaks remains busy at both locations.
After all, the steaks themselves have never changed. Theyre made with high-quality fresh ribeye thats been hand-trimmed, so theres no chance of biting into chewy gristle. The meat is only very lightly chopped as it frizzles on the grill We dont have to chop it up fine to hide things and then cheese is laid over the top, before the package is slid inside a soft Liscios bun.
Trying To Sell Cheesesteaks In Philadelphia Isnt Easy
If you want to know what the current economic/employment situation looks like, consider this: Its getting tough to sell cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Groh said of the decision to close his store, It took the weight of the world off me.
Not so long ago it had 17 employees. Last summer, sales started to drop. Now some days he only has eight employees and he cant even open if some workers dont show up.
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Joes Steaks Keeping Fishtown Location Plans To Close Wissinoming Shop
Over 70 years after its opening, Joe Groh, the owner of Joes Steaks & Soda Shop, recently announced on Facebook that the businesss original shop at 6030 Torresdale Ave. will be closing on Saturday, Sept. 3, with all services being maintained at its Fishtown site.
Having been operating on shortened hours and staff for the better part of the past two years, Groh expressed appreciation for the support of the restaurants team members, neighbors and customers during that time.
For more than six decades we have been serving the finest cheesesteaks in Philadelphia right here on Torresdale Avenue, Groh said. Unfortunately, the time has come for us to continue that legacy exclusively at our flagship location in Fishtown which we opened in 2015.
Joes was originally founded in 1949 by Samuel Sherman before Groh, who has worked at the shop since 1979, purchased it in 1999 following Shermans death two years prior. The shop had been a source of controversy due to its original name Chinks being a slur for those of Asian descent. Following years of public pressure, Groh changed the name to Joes Steaks & Soda Shop in 2013.
For now, I will be focusing on exciting new revenue streams, like the incredibly popular Goldbelly partnership that gives us the ability to ship our steaks nationwide and actually taking a day or two off each week in order to spend more time with my adorable grandchildren, Groh said.
Joe Groh Hold’s A Joe’s Steaks Cheesesteak
File under no good deed goes unpunished: For the past five years, not a day has passed where a customer didnt give Joe Groh grief for changing his shops name to something that wasnt a racist slur.
It happened this past Friday. Hey Joe, a man shouted out, between bites of cheesesteak in a booth at the Torresdale Avenue spot, Donald Trump just called.
Oh really, Groh tossed back, ready for banter from his place behind the grill. Whatd he say?
He said you oughta change the name back to Chinks!
Thats friendlier than some. Like the little old women who, every time she comes in, tells Groh, You make me sick! in a voice that drips with octogenarian venom. Then theres the customers like the woman who ordered a sandwich, glanced at it, then pushed it away, saying, This isnt a Chinks steak! before walking out the door.
These complaints are a daily occurrence at Joes Steaks in Northeast Philly, said Groh, who now also runs a second outpost in Fishtown. They get even more mad when I tell them it was my decision.
It was April 1, 2013, when Groh swapped the sign reading Chinks which had hung above the iconic cheesesteak joint since it opened in 1949 for one that said Joes.
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‘if I Could Cook Every Single Steak We Serve I Would’ Says Groh
Success on Frankford Avenue has translated to increased sales on Torresdale Avenue, which is now open seven days a week. Its sometimes busy enough that Groh transfers employees from Fishtown a move that causes additional distress among the disgruntled Wissinoming clientele.
I dont want her to make my milkshake, one customer recently griped, pointing at a Latina staffer. Dont let him touch my cheesesteak, another said, nodding his head toward a black grill cook.
But Groh defends his workers, and asks people who make those kinds of comments to leave the premises.
And at the Fishtown corner, where there are vegan and gluten-free options alongside the classics, Joes Steaks is rocking. It sells an average of 300 to 400 sandwiches on a weekend day, with numbers spiking up to 750 or more on a busy Saturday night.
Which has Groh again thinking of expanding.
I would love to, he said on Friday, noting hes looked at several potential spaces already. I think its time. I would actively love to open a new one this year.
Where will the next Joes-not-Chinks Steaks be? Old City is a possibility, but Groh is willing to wait as long as he needs for the right location. At least he doesnt have to worry about being turned away because of the name.
Want some more? Explore other Philly food and drink scene stories.
Samuel ‘chink’ Sherman Outside His Cheesesteak Shop On Torresdale Avenue
Many Philadelphians applauded the move, which had been a long time coming. A decade earlier, several Asian American groups had organized a concerted effort to force the removal of the Chinks name. The Philadelphia Bar Association even adopted a public resolution criticizing it.
Back then, Groh wasnt ready. Hed worked at the shop since he was 16 years old, and had taken over operations in 1997. But hed been very close with the stores previous owner, Samuel Sherman, whose own appearance Sherman apparently had almond-shaped eyes was the source of the nickname. So even though Groh actually ended up in court over it once or twice, he stood his ground on keeping the Chinks name.
But as time passed, Groh, now 55, came to a new conclusion. Not only was having a racial slur as a brand name morally unacceptable, he realized, it was also bad business.
Nowadays, sales are booming at Joes Steaks second location at the corner of Frankford and Girard, but when Groh first went searching for real estate in Fishtown, he was turned away repeatedly.
One of his first attempted leases was the space thats now home to Kensington Quarters, Groh recounted. After a good preliminary visit, he got a call from the landlord.
Wait, youre from Chinks? the building owner told him. Forget it. I dont want my place associated with that name.
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