STEUBENVILLE - Vice President Joe Biden took time out Wednesday from a two-day campaign swing in Eastern Ohio to enjoy a chicken parmesan dinner at Naples Spaghetti House and buy ice cream for his staff.
He also had time to shake hands and pose for photographs when he visited the Joe Staffilino Sr. home in the city's West End.
Biden arrived late Wednesday afternoon and met the Staffilino family and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland at Naples, where he spent nearly two hours greeting dinner customers.
WELCOME TO NAPLES — Susan Delatore and her daughter, Lisa Delatore, greeted Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday during a surprise visit to Naples Spaghetti House in Steubenville. - Michael D. McElwain
"I have heard a lot about this restaurant from Ted Strickland. I love Italian food and I'm hungry,' Biden told co-owners Susan, Tim and Lisa Delatore.
"We are honored to have you here," replied Susan Delatore.
The Staffilino family at the restaurant included Joe Staffilino Sr., president of Staffilino Chevrolet in Martins Ferry; Donna Marie Staffilino, wife of Joe Sr.; Joe Staffilino Jr., general manager of Staffilino Chevrolet; Angela Lee Kessler Staffilino, wife of Joe Jr.; Anthony Staffilino, Joe Jr.'s son; and Cassie Wamsley, Joe Jr.'s stepdaughter.
Biden was set to be at the Staffilino Chevrolet dealership in Martins Ferry at 10:15 a.m. today, where he was set to deliver remarks on the Obama's administration work on the auto industry rescue bailout.
Earlier Wednesday, Biden campaigned at a Youngstown factory where he called Republican challenger Mitt Romney a corporate raider.
The Biden campaign caravan traveled to Joe Staffilino Sr.'s residence, where the vice president spent approximately 35 minutes before emerging to greet neighbors and pose for photographs in their front yard across the street.
His last stop was at the Hollywood City Center Dairy Queen, where Biden bought ice cream cones and milk shakes for campaign staff members and two local residents who weren't expecting to meet the vice president.
Chris and Dianne Murphy had stopped at the Hollywood City Center Dairy Queen for late-evening ice cream cones to celebrate their daughter Bailie's softball game victory earlier in the afternoon.
That's when Biden, accompanied by local reporters and photographers, members of the national press corps, campaign staff and Secret Service agents walked through the front door.
"I was pretty surprised to see him walk in like that. My daughter had played a softball game at Beaver Local and we ran into traffic on state Route 7 coming home. We had heard Vice President Biden was coming to the city, but never expected to see him in the Dairy Queen," said Chris Murphy.
Biden enjoyed a chocolate-coated vanilla swirl ice cream cone and started asking people around him if they wanted ice cream.
He soon spotted Christopher and Bailie Murphy.
"Do you play football?" Biden asked the younger Christopher.
"Yes sir," Christopher replied.
"I played when I was in school. Where do you play at?" Biden continued.
"Catholic Central High School," replied Murphy.
"How about some ice cream?" Biden asked Christopher and his sister, Bailie.
"If I knew you were coming, I would have waited for you to buy me ice cream," called out an unidentified woman in the Dairy Queen.
Biden bought ice cream cones and milk shakes for several staff members and Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla before leaving the business shortly before closing time.
"It was a little nerve-wracking when all those people started coming in. And then we saw Vice President Biden and it was even more nerve wracking. But he was very nice and we got all the orders taken care of," said Dairy Queen clerk Josie Goodwin.