Let’s start off with a photo.

Photo by Vanessa Kaukonen

Here I am with a gift card from the Owner/Employees that I received today at breakfast at the Casa Nueva  in town.

I first ate at the Casa Nueva on West State Street over thirty years ago. The Casa is a one of a kind dining experience in the Ohio River Valley, and a good one. The food is all locally sourced, it is worker owned and well… it could only happen in Athens! In any case a lifetime and half a dozen menus ago they had a dinner item called the Number Three. The Number Three consisted of a chicken enchilada with black been salsa, rice and a small empanada aka ‘the Smallie.’  If they had a ‘Biggie’ I would have ordered that, but they don’t. I loved this dinner entré and after a while it’s all I would order if I was there for dinner. Thirty years later it’s still my go to dinner request. They should bring it back and call it the ‘Jorma.’

We were there for dinner last night with my son Zach and his girl Jenny. I recreated the #3 yet one more time. With the memory of the #3 still surrounding my taste buds we went to the Casa again this morning for breakfast. It was the whole post Thanksgiving Family Gang, me, Vanessa, her sister Ginger, our daughter Izze, my son Zach and his girl Jenny and Ginger’s son Montana and his girl Sam. As previously mentioned I have a dinner favorite, but I also have a breakfast favorite. Their scrambled peanut soy tofu has been a breakfast destination of mine even before I could no longer eat eggs. A double order of that coupled with their local bacon is a game changer. Then there is their home made jam and delicious toast as a bookend, all of this surrounded by a bottomless cup of coffee. Perfect.

As a artist active in the music business I have been honored with many accolades. A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy nominations, Gold Records to name a few. That’s all well and good, but wait… there’s more.  As we were leaving a gaggle of Worker/Owners waylaid us and gave me an Owner/Eaters Award that was accompanied by a gift card and told me and they were making an Owner/Eater wall plaque with my name on it. They’re the owners… I am the eater. This is better than a good time! I hit West State Street with a big smile on my face and it wasn’t just because of the food.

Next time you’re in Athens and you get hungry, stop in the Casa and grab a bite.

Tell them ‘Jorma sent you!’


  1. Comment made on December 4, 2023 by Brendan carroll

    If you’re going to Denver show and have not been to region: the scenery is beautiful but there is a reason car rental cos don’t want to rent a small car to visitors. The drive out of the continental divide peak and into Denver area is not for a small car. The bend goes on forever and pulls you into a left to right torque steer toward Cliffside shoulder. I was practically standing on the brakes at high speed and a semi on my ass sounding its air horn. Me and That Train.

  2. Comment made on December 4, 2023 by Brendan carroll

    I recalled the ‘Danko/Kaukonen at Uncle Willy’s’ collection while driving past Kingston yesterday. Today, the streaming music algo gave me a bit of your departed friend Rick Danko’s brilliance, with ‘It Makes No Difference’. I guess same can be said of songwriting credits on the group’s records, depending on one’s point of view. The lead guitar sure could write them, and the late, great Mr Danko was a true artist.
    30 years ago I walked into the White Plains trades council men’s meeting. The leader was a tall, gregarious, Irish-American with DiMaggio features and O’Toole eyes and hair. Sat behind the desk a famous gangster gave him chain smoking cigars and dispensing good will and sobriety. Grew up with the Lamotta bros. Said Joey was tougher than Jake. He was talking to a carpenter who had befriended a fella you knew and was just finishing up something about maybe him coming by, I think. I told our friend and leader, Donald (quite the ladies man) what Ronnie Hawkins told The Band when he hired them – about not getting paid much but kissing more girls than Sinatra. Good luck with the Denver ‘Goodbye Electric Hot Tuna’ show.

  3. Comment made on December 2, 2023 by Christopher Doyle

    Thank you to you and Jack, Justin and your guests at the Fillmore Friday night. Tip top show. It was great to hear electric as well. ✨

  4. Comment made on November 28, 2023 by Chappy

    Had a pic of the Casa crew from back in the day (mid-80’s) but couldn’t post it.

    Caught Bob Dylan in concert last night in Richmond, VA. A solid show…Bob in good voice and band was great as always. Bruce Hornsby was in the audience sitting across the aisle from me. He seemed to really enjoy the show. Last time I saw Bruce at a Dylan show was about 15 years ago down in Norfolk, VA. Bruce sat in on keys that night for “Watchtower.” He was just a fan last night.

  5. Comment made on November 27, 2023 by howard monaghan

    I was a student at OU from 1982-85, and I worked one night (!) as a dishwasher at a Mexican place that was then called Casa Que Pasa–I’m assuming it was the same place! (We mutually agreed to part ways after the shift…)

    In the Spring of 85, Jorma, heading a band called “There Goes the Neighborhood,” came to Athens to play at a bar near South Green called Hangar-5. A bunch of us went and were treated to a great show, of course. After every couple of songs the drummer would say, “Here comes Jorma. There goes the neighborhood.”

    Fun times indeed!

    • Comment made on November 27, 2023 by Jorma

      Casa Que Pasa Hanger 5 and There Goes The Neighborhood indeed… The drummer was Rasheid Ali… John Coltane’s last drummer…

      Most cool!

  6. Comment made on November 26, 2023 by Art

    I’ve been there – was visiting my buddy who is an OU professor. He said he has run into you (Jorma) there a couple of times. Great place. Hope to get back to the Columbus area soon.

  7. Comment made on November 26, 2023 by alexander pepiak

    That’s so cool!!!
    At my local diner the waitress just asks which vegetables I want with the broiled scallops meal
    My review is on their website!!

    During the pandemic the owner would apologize every time I came in telling me that he was not able to get scallops reasonably ( I substituted shrimp)
    The day I walked in and scallops were back he greated me at the door and called my order into the kitchen.

    I long for the days when they were open 24 hrs ( the pandemic took that out) and I’d sit with the night manager eating ice cream and carrot cake with peppermint tea people watching Ala Tom waits at 2am….

    A new definition to comfort food!!!

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