"He said he knew what was going on in the kitchen because 'I had been in the restaurant business myself,'" Stephen Savona, owner of Savona's Trattoria in Kingston, N.Y., told the Kingston Daily Freeman.
Boehner then joked that maybe he should have stayed in that occupation "instead of getting into this crazy business," Savona said, adding the joke was Boehner's only political comment.
Boehner worked at his family's Cincinnati tavern -- Andy's Cafe, founded by Boehner's grandfather Andy Boehner -- starting at age 8. The young Boehner mopped floors and waited tables, his bio says.
In Kingston, Boehner ate at Savona's, located in a former opera house in a waterfront historic district, Saturday night after hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., in a private residence a few miles outside the city.
Gibson, of the 20th Congressional District, is running against Democratic candidate Julian Schreibman, a former CIA assistant general counsel and assistant U.S. attorney, in a redrawn 19th district. Much of the new district overlaps with the current 22nd district, represented by Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who is retiring.
Savona -- who had a moment of fame in March 2003 when he was a bachelor on Fox Broadcasting's short-lived "Married by America" reality show -- said Boehner arrived at his restaurant with seven or so U.S. Secret Service agents around 8:15 p.m.
Boehner has Secret Service protection because he is second in the line of presidential succession after Vice President Joe Biden.
He and three staff members sat at a table near a side door, Savona told the Freeman, which posted a photo of Boehner posing with Savona and wife Mayte Arguello Savona on its Web site.
Boehner ate a $26 New Zealand rack of lamb with $12 New Zealand little neck clams as an appetizer, Savona said.
After finishing his meal, Boehner greeted the 75 or so diners in the restaurant and had photos taken with most of them, he said.
"He was really genuinely friendly," Savona said.