Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chink's Steaks changing its name

The Northeast Philly sandwich shop says it's looking forward by rebranding.

Chink's Steaks changing its name


Chink's Steaks, the Northeast Philly sandwich institution that has faced heat in recent years over the ethnic slur in its name, says it's rebranding.

On April 1, it will be known as Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop.

The more prosaic name was chosen by branding specialist David Neff, hired by owner Joe Groh, according to a press release.

It's not clear why the name is being changed now - other than the fact that Groh is looking forward to leaving the business to his son someday.

More coverage
Steak joint changes name to avoid slur
Should Chink's Steaks change its name?
No; it's part of city history
  3018 (75.0%)
Yes; what took them so long?
  1007 (25.0%)
Total votes = 4025

Back in 2004, Groh was chastised by Asian Americans in a series of Philadelphia Daily News articles, and in 2008, the Philadelphia Bar Association took the unusual step of issuing a resolution critical of the name.

The shop, on Torresdale Avenue in Wissinoming, was called Chink's from its founding in 1949 by a white guy named Sam Sherman.

That was his boyhood nickname. In 2004, Sam's widow wrote a letter to the Daily News to explain how, as a 7-year-old in 1930 at James Blaine Elementary School, Sam was so branded with the slur by classmates who noted that his eyes were almond-shaped.

Sam died in 1997, but the shop lived on, under the ownership of longtime employee Joe Groh.

In the press release, Groh said he did not associate the shop's name with the racial slur. Some regulars, he contended, had threatened to never return if this change occurred.

In a statement, Groh said: “It is very important to me, my family and the entire staff that we no longer inadvertently alienate anyone in the Philly community."
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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