Boy, was I shocked when I walked in here and ordered a couple dogs," said former Republican state Rep. Randy Law to me after GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan departed the landmark Hot Dog Shoppe in downtown Warren.
Of course what Law said was tongue-in-cheek. In fact, it was him who winked.
He was among several Republicans, including county GOP chairwoman Kathi Creed and former chairman Craig Bonar, who were told of Ryan's visit beforehand and waiting inside the restaurant for the U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin to arrive around noon Thursday.
Bonar said he received a call to be at the Hot Dog Shoppe at noon and that "he had a pretty good idea why."
The stop wasn't announced by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign.
I arrived about 20 minutes to noon and took my place with other members of the media in the parking lot, waiting for Ryan to arrive from a rally earlier at Walsh University in North Canton and wondering why the physically fit Ryan picked the Hot Dog Shoppe for lunch.
The answer to that is easy: It's a landmark and the dogs are delicious.
Take this, for example: I have friends who live out-of-state now and when they return to visit, they must eat at the Hot Dog Shoppe. On one occasion, a friend bought large plastic water bottles, had them filled with cheese and sauce and then sealed them with duct tape so they wouldn't leak in his suitcase.
He was returning them for a person he knew who grew up eating the hot dogs.
And here at the Tribune, it has been a Friday night ritual for the night crew to get hot dogs from there for dinner.
When Ryan arrived, we were ushered into the restaurant by a media handler, were kept at a distance and then ushered out before Ryan left.
Luckily, some of the order broke down and we were able to move a little more freely, which allowed our photographer to get some good shots of Ryan interacting with the crowd.
Inside, Ryan immediately began working the dining area, and then joined Bonar, Law and a reporter from Yahoo! for lunch. Ryan asked The Yahoo! reporter to join because it was his birthday. Ryan also bought the reporter a dog and Coke and gave him a chance to ask a question, which was about Ryan's proposed cuts to Medicare.
A private lunch fundraiser was also supposed to happen, but because of the short notice, it was postponed. Bonar, a delegate for Romney, said he received a call two days before Ryan's visit about possibly putting something together.
The location changed a couple times and with only about a day left, it was canceled, Bonar said.
But don't think this is the last visit from the Republican campaign.