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Good deed punished? Controversial name changed but business drops off
Joe Groh isn't laughing. Four months ago he did the right thing. Now he's paying the price for it. Groh is the owner of Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop at 6030 Torresdale Ave., and if that doesn't ring a bell, here's the name it used until March 31: Chink's Steaks, a Wissinoming landmark since 1949.
I doubt many, if any, of Chink's customers connected the name with a racial slur. The steak shop was named by founder Sam "Chink" Sherman, who got the nickname when he was a kid due to his almond shaped eyes. You can argue whether his friends meant it as an Asian slur or a sidewalk description. America was, rightly or wrongly, less sensitive about such things then.
When Groh, 50, announced his plan to rename the restaurant - he has worked there for 35 years and bought it from Sherman's widow in 1999 - there were two explosions. The first was in the media. The little steakshop never before received so much attention. The second was backlash from some longtime customers who hated the name-change, calling it a surrender to political-correctness. They have a point.
A little old lady, maybe 75, comes in with her son and daughter. She says to Groh, "You make me sick," orders a cheesesteak, sits down, eats it, then walks out telling him, "You still make me sick."