Ceres: Bringing Little Italy to Tucson

Nolan I
December 2, 2022

Many local eateries are well-equipped to satisfy a customer’s appetites, however, Ceres uses its unique environment and location to further the customer’s experience, evident in the fashion this Brick and Mortar has developed seating for customers and the way its friendly staff beams joy when receiving your order.  From my very first steps onto the cement walkway of Ceres, the aroma of spices and freshly prepared vegetables grazed against my nostrils instantly drawing me in, the chalkboard menus referencing anything from their iced coffee to various deserts paired with the brick storefront and green awning make Ceres not only aesthetically pleasing but extremely noteworthy.

Once I had determined what my appetite had called for I began my extremely timely wait in line, choosing to go with the special as my entree, I accompanied my pasta with an iced matcha latte and a pecan pie. Opting for the special, which contained short ribs braised in a red wine reduction paired with tangolini.

Located at 77 W Washington St, Ceres is just nearly conjoined with a cornucopia of bustling shops, finding trinkets and artworks viable for any local or tourist, the accompaniment of these shopping areas keeps you entertained when waiting for your meal.


Why Here?

Carolyn O’Connor the owner and operator of Ceres chose this location after searching for various positions downtown with little prevail, however, Carolyn’s mother-in-law owned a bakery in the same building and when the time was right Carolyn took over to begin her own adventure.

What Inspired You?

O’Connor’s love for pasta was instilled in her youth, growing up in Syracuse, NJ the Italian population surrounded her. Carolyn’s friend ended up teaching her the craft of freshly made pasta, however,  her curiosity about pasta-making only helped her delve further into the art.

She perfected her craft through research and playing around with recipes. Once Carolyn had moved to Tucson her inspiration only grew when spotting the reaction of her Tusconian friends who had not yet experienced authentic Italian pasta, “That’s when I knew the people of Tucson needed fresh pasta.” O’Connor stated. 

When learning about O’Connor’s process of pasta I was instantly intrigued by the process by which the specials are chosen. With a restaurant that prides itself on fresh and locally grown produce, I was curious to see if specials were difficult to select with the ingredients available. Pleasantly surprised, O’Connor shared that “the specials are a collaborative effort between the staff”, incorporating local taste through locally grown seasonal ingredients and troubleshooting solutions for recipes together. The work environment shows its positivity through its wonderful staff and welcoming experience.

With the rapid success of Ceres, the Tucson community instantly fell in love with classical Italian pasta, prompting her to open up a sister restaurant known as Noodies.

Nolan Ideker is a Communications Major at the University of Arizona