Vice President Joe Biden gets a piece of custard pie from Diane Haffen during a campaign stop at Schmucker's restaurant in Toledo.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
After the rally in the University of Toledo Student Union, the motorcade of Vice President Joe Biden drove west on Bancroft Street and stopped at Schmucker's Restaurant, 2103 N. Reynolds Rd.
He arrived at the restaurant at 12:53 p.m. and the motorcade left there at 1:19 p.m.
The restaurant was pretty full. He walked around and chatted briefly with people. Daughter Ashley Biden came in with him (she introduced him at the UT rally).
He spoke at the counter to Ernest and Linda Vasquez, both 63, of Toledo. They were at the restaurant on Linda's lunch hour; Ernest is retired. "We just came to eat. We were surprised. He asked what kind of pie we liked, " Mr. Vasquez said. "We came up with key lime."
Mrs. Vasquez said they were Democrats.
Mr. Biden sat down with Ed Nazar, 89, and Ann Monaghan Nazar, 87, both of Toledo. Mr. Nazar is the fomer owner of a rubber company that was located in West Toledo until he closed it in 2006 after 58 years because he saw something bad coming. He credited the Obama administration with imposing some tariffs that gave the steel industry in America a break.
"I told him that I was very happy they brought back legislation to give steel mills a break in America because steel was our biggest customer," Mr. Nazar said.
The two talked for a while across the table and ended with Mr. Nazar and Mr. Biden high-fiving.
Mr. Nazar said he is a registered Republican and plans to vote for Mitt Romney "because I believe in his business tactics."
But he said that as a combat veteran of World War II he has the "highest respect" for Mr. Obama because he "made arrangements to have bin Laden taken out."
About Mr. Biden, he said, "he's the first vice president I ever met and he's a pretty straight guy."
Mrs. Nazar is undecided in the election.
"I haven't decided, to be very honest. I'm really worried about small businesses," Mrs. Nazar said.
The diner was packed. Mr. Biden said as he walked in, "I hear they've got great coconut custard pie." He first approached people sitting on stools at the service bar and said, "What pie do you like the best?" An AT+T repairman named Doug Roloff, 45, replied "rhubarb!" But a waitress handed the VP a slice of classic custard pie instead.
Mr. Roloff said in a separate interview with a pool reporter covering the event, "I'm an Obama person" and "I know how to pick a place for lunch!" The Fulton County resident was enjoying beef and noodles with gravy with a side of mashed potatoes.
Mr. Biden chatted with another man a little ways down the bar who declined to give his name. He was overheard by a pool reporter telling the vice president, "You're a good guy, Joe." Afterward the man reported to the reporter that he was not actually a Biden fan. "Before that, I told him to enjoy his last couple of months," he said. "Just because you're a good guy doesn't mean you're a good vice president."
Escorting Mr. Biden in the restaurant was owner Doug Schmucker who said the business was started by his grandparents in 1948. He said everything is the same as it was then, including the phone booth.
"I told him that I prayed for him. He shared that that was significant in his life also. It was an honor to be chosen for him to stop here. I was impressed with the man. I really was. A sense of genuineness. He genuinely cared and listened," Mr. Schmucker said. He said he didn't discuss politics with the vice president.
Dawn Metzger, 39, of Toledo, a medical social worker, had her picture taken with Mr. Biden to share with her children, who were in school today.
"Mr. Biden asked where they're at. I said St. Benedict's [school]. He shared that he went to Catholic schools all his life," Mrs. Metzger said. She was there with husband Tom and her parents, Jim and Donna Linenkugel of Toledo. She said she's undecided and Mr. Biden's visit didn't sway her.