Ocha owner passes torch to nephew

Ocha owner Vichit “Vic” Keeradarome (left) is retiring and will pass the torch to his nephew, Dan Herren (right). Tonight will be Vic's last night serving customers at his college side restaurant. (Photo: UCBJ/Michelle Price)

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

COOKEVILLE – It was like a scene today out of “It’s a Wonderful Life” as people lined up out the door to the parking lot to say goodbye to Vichit “Vic” Keeradarome, the smiling owner of Ocha, as he passes the torch to his nephew, Dan Herren. From the time they opened throughout the lunch hours, people poured in to wish Keeradarome well on his retirement.

Ocha opened in 1985 and has been a northside staple ever since. Keeradarome recounted to Celeste Bates the story of working in New York for BMW for 15 years. As he and his wife were driving through Cookeville, they saw the university and this little empty building across the street. They decided to start their new lives here and the rest is history.

Fans of Ocha shouldn’t despair. Keeradarome has been training his nephew to take over the family business, so it’s in good hands. Today is Vic’s last day taking care of his many friends and customers. Ocha will be open for dinner from 4:30-7 p.m. before closing for its annual Christmas holiday and will reopen Jan. 6. 

Keeradarome’s smiling face has greeted customers at Ocha for almost 35 years.

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