Old Town proposal brings tears and a yes

Auburn resident Casey Allen pops the question at site of couple’s first date
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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A first date at an Old Town restaurant a few months ago turned out to be the beginning of a special relationship for Auburn residents Casey Allen and Kimberly Raimondi. In fact, so special that Allen decided it would be the perfect spot to propose. So Monday he got down on one knee and presented an engagement ring to Raimondi as patrons and staff looked on at Tsuda’s Old Town Eatery. Allen and Raimondi, both Placer graduates, were in high school together more than 20 years ago. “She was a junior and I was a sophomore,” Allen said. “I had a crush on her, but she didn’t know about me though.” During the intervening years, both married and had children, and eventually divorced. Then three months ago, they met at a local function. There was an instant connection, Allen said. That initial visit to Tsuda’s was the first for Raimondi. “I love Old Town and love to go to the farmers market,” she said. “I knew the building had changed hands and always wanted to try (the restaurant). So we tried it and fell in love with it and go every chance we get.” “It has been “our spot to go and talk about us,” Allen said. When he decided to pop the question, Allen, who plays guitar in country-alternative band EGG — Entertaining Good Guys — knew music had to be part of it. “I went in (to Tsuda’s) and asked if I could propose there,” he said. “I didn’t want to bother the business, but I wanted to play my guitar and play for (Kimberly) and then propose.” Carnahan was thrilled to have the restaurant be a part of it. “My first thought was I was tickled pink that (a couple) had their first date at Tsuda’s and now they were coming back to propose,” she said. In discussions with Carnahan, Allen arranged to have the ring delivered to Raimondi along with dessert after lunch, and he got permission to bring in his guitar and leave it there earlier that morning. In preparation for the big day, he composed a special song for Raimondi, called “Kimberly.” He chose the day of the proposal — Nov. 22 — because 22 is Raimondi’s favorite number. “Sports-wise and (in other ways) it has always been my number,” she said. “I made mention of that in passing and he took it and ran with it.” Upon arrival at the restaurant, everything went according to plan. “(After lunch), I acted like I was going to the restroom, went and got the guitar, sang the song and then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me,” Allen said. It took Raimondi totally by surprise. “I just thought we were having lunch at our favorite place,” she said. “I was speechless. He sat down and started playing. All I could do was stare. Then he knelt in front of me and told me how much he loved me. I’m not speechless very often, but I did say yes.” Raimondi said she teared up but was too stunned to cry. However, several onlookers did. “There were lots of tears, mostly on our part,” Tsuda’s manager Andrea Quinn said. “It was so romantic and so pretty.” “I can tell you there were five women working and we were all in tears,” Carnahan said. “It was really sweet.” Allen, 38, is a house painter and Raimondi, 39, is a paralegal. He has a daughter, Brittany, 17. She has a daughter, Morgan Taylor, 17, and a son, Mason Taylor, 14. The wedding will be next October. “My birthday is on Halloween,” Raimondi said. “October has always been one of my favorite months and fall is my favorite season. I had always wanted to get married in October.” And the date? It will be on the 22nd, of course. “It’s on a Saturday, so it works out pretty well,” Allen said. And Tsuda’s will have a role for the couple’s wedding day, too. “The other thing that was a huge shock to me is they want me to be the caterer,” Carnahan said. “So he’s got a lot of faith in us and that’s very nice to see.” Reach Gloria Young at