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October 01, 2016

Geno's Steaks celebrates 50th anniversary, gives away thousands to local charities

The iconic Geno's Steaks is celebrating its 50th birthday in true Philly fashion Saturday.

Opened in 1966 by Joey Vento with a couple of hot dogs, some steaks and $6, the South Philly cheesesteak staple is now taken over by his son, Geno Vento.

In a recent interview on PHL17, Geno Vento said that in honor of the five decades in business, the restaurant will give away $50,000 to local charities in Philadelphia.

"I'm just very blessed and to be around for 50 years and to be giving back and everything," he said during the interview.

Charities took to Twitter Saturday to thank Geno's, including Coaches vs. Cancer – a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches – as well as the Philadelphia Police Foundation. Both organizations received $10,000 each.

Famous faces also showed up to the event, including Philadelphia Eagles player Fletcher Cox. The Food Network and Nickelodeon's Marc Summers was the event's celebrity MC. The carnival-themed event, which ends at 6 p.m., also featured music and games.

Saturday's celebration certainly isn't the only time that Geno's has been in the spotlight. Weeks ago, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came out to grab a cheesesteak. 

Geno's was also the center of controversy years ago for its "Speak English" sign. It was Joey Vento's dying wish to keep the sign up, though Geno Vento did not share the same "polarizing views his Father was famous for." 

Joey Vento died of a heart attack in 2011.