TOPEKA, Kan. - The owner of a Kansas restaurant said he banned a group of Republican lawmakers and lobbyists after he said they were disrespectful for staff while dining at the establishment, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
“They showed up and just started drinking and drinking and drinking,” Adam VanDonge, who owns the White Linen restaurant in Topeka, told the newspaper.
On Feb. 27, a party of 12 legislators entered the restaurant, including House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe; House Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa; Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit; and lobbyists Dan Murray and Rachelle Colombo, the Kansas City Star reported. Murray represents the National Federation of Independent Businesses and Colombo lobbies for the Kansas Medical Society, the newspaper reported.
VonDonge said Finch was served five old fashioneds in a 90-minute span, the Capital-Journal reported.
The restaurant seats only 25 people and typically does not seat parties larger than six people, the newspaper reported.
Restaurant manager Cassidy Merriman said she asked the group several times to lower their voices, and at one point pulled Finch into the hallway and told him she would stop serving him alcohol, the Star reported.
“People expect better than that of their elected officials,” Kyle Van Meteren, former executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, told the Capital-Journal. “Is it newsworthy? I think it probably is.”
Finch declined to comment, telling the newspaper, “I’m not aware of anything happening.”
Ryckman’s spokesman, Eric Turek, said no one was drunk. Concannon told the Capital-Journal that management was rude.
“The customer is always wrong,” Murray wrote on a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the newspaper reported. “Would love to share the full story.”