Paul Ryan and family ate breakfast Friday at Josie's in Chevy Chase

gkocher1@herald-leader.comOctober 12, 2012 

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan posed with employees of Josie's, where he, his family and an entourage of staffers and Secret Service agents ate breakfast Friday.

PHOTO PROVIDED

Boy, going toe to toe with the vice president of the United States in a nationally televised debate sure can make a guy hungry.

So on the morning after the debate, Republican vice presidential candidate and all-around healthy guy Paul Ryan and his family ate breakfast at Josie's, a locally owned Lexington restaurant.

There, Ryan heartily dug into an omelet with bacon, sausage, onions, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, banana peppers and smoked cheddar cheese.

He found it to be "phenomenal," said Daniel Kelley, 28, the waiter who served Ryan; his wife, Janna; two sons and a daughter.

A retinue of campaign staffers and Secret Service agents also came into the Chevy Chase eatery about 10:30 a.m. Friday.

"We've had celebrities in here before," Kelley said, including LeBron James and some University of Kentucky basketball players. "But that's different.

"It was nice to see him in here," Kelley said of Ryan. "He was a really nice guy. We talked about being from Wisconsin and eating dairy food and all that. He got cheese grits and everything he could with milk in it. ... He said he's been running on just a few hours of sleep every night. He went through about four cups of coffee while he was here."

The Ryan children — daughter Liza and sons Charlie and Sam — were enthusiastic about their breakfasts, Kelley said.

"They would reach over and steal food from everybody," he said. "The whole family got up to talk to tables, and one of the sons just sat there and kept picking up food and said, 'I don't want to get up. I like this.'"

The Ryans ate at a table in the middle of the restaurant, away from windows. A Secret Service agent was posted in each corner.

"I talked and joked with them, too," Kelley said. "They were nice guys."

Others with the Ryan group took up about half of the horseshoe counter.

Jen Murray, who co-owns Josie's with her husband, Bobby, said someone had contacted her husband Thursday night about having the Ryans eat there Friday. A later call informed them that plans had changed.

But on Friday morning, a woman came in and sat at the counter to eat breakfast. "She never said who she was or who she was with," Jen Murray said.

The woman finally asked Murray whether a party could come in and sit at a particular table. "She said it's 'a really special thing,'" Murray said. "Then she said, 'We can't be by windows.' And I'm like, 'Who is this girl? She's weird.'"

Finally the woman — who apparently was a Secret Service agent because she revealed an earpiece cord when she pulled off a scarf — told Murray, "Excuse me, Paul Ryan will be here any minute."

When the Ryans entered, the 50 to 60 customers applauded, Murray said.

"They were lovely," she said of the Ryans. "They spent time with the customers. They complimented the food. They took a picture with the staff behind the counter. Everyone was friendly and very nice. Politics was put aside.

"We're thrilled he chose a local, independent restaurant."

Kelley said he did not discuss Thursday night's debate with Ryan.

"Frankly, I have it recorded," Kelley said. "But I'm a baseball fan. I watched the games last night."

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @heraldleader.

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