Chink's Steaks is rebranding as Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop as of April 1, and this isn't an April Fools joke. Chink's has consistently been one of the best cheesesteaks in Philly, in addition to having one of the most dedicated fanbases of any local brand. That's why owner Joe Groh—who has been Chink's head honcho since 1999—has balked on changing the culturally insensitive name. The original owner, Sam Sherman, opened the shop 64 years ago using his childhood nickname, Chink, which had nothing to do with the derogatory term.
When Groh purchased the shop in 1999—after working for Sherman since 1979—he kept everything the same, including the recipes and the name. The former owner was a neighborhood celebrity and rebranding at that time would have seriously hurt business. But, now that Groh has owned the shop for almost 15 years, he has built his own cheesesteak legacy and feels it's time to update the name.
"It is very important to me, my family and the entire staff that we no longer inadvertently alienate anyone in the Philly community," Groh said.
Besides changing the name, Groh said everything else will stay the same. The recipes, the vibe, the employees, and the relationship with the neighborhood will continue on as before. And the newly designed logo references the colors and type style that were prevalent when Chink's opened up shop in 1949. This is a great move for a true Philly legend, and hopefully it will attract a new set of customers who were put off by the name before.