Philadelphia, PA

Controversial Pennsylvania restaurant closing after 73 years

Kristen Walters

A controversial Pennsylvania restaurant known for sparking protests throughout the years is closing down after operating for over 73 years.

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The owner of Joe's Steakhouse recently announced that the restaurant would be closing after nearly 73 years of business on September 3, 2022.

The eatery in Northeast Philadelphia was known for selling cheesesteak sandwiches. However, before 2013, it was also known for its controversial name "Chink's," which was later changed to Joe's Steakhouse after years of protests.

According to reports, a campaign to change the name of the eatery was started in 2004 by Susannah Park, who felt it was derogatory toward Asian Americans. Local residents countered Park's campaign by circulating a petition of their own to keep the name.

Over 10,000 locals signed the petition to keep the old name, despite the controversy surrounding it. However, the owner ultimately decided it was best to change it, so the restaurant became known as "Joe's Steakhouse" in early 2013.

The owner told local reporters that he was "relieved" to be closing the restaurant. Even though sales were good during the early days of the pandemic, they had started to decline in recent months, making it challenging to keep the operation going.

An ongoing worker shortage also made running the business a challenge. Just a year or two ago, the restaurant had around 17 employees. However, for the past year or so, the employee count at Joe's Restaurant fell to about 8.

Joe's Steakhouse has a second location at Frankford and Girard Avenues intersection in Fishtown. That location is expected to stay open.

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