Viva: Newly Opened Coffee House Causes a Stir in Rita Ranch

Specialty craft coffee in the Southeast.

According to Viva Coffee House co-owner Kelly Walker, the word about the new business is still getting out but those who have already experienced Viva have commented on the quality of their products, the ambiance, and friendliness of the staff.

Kelly — a senior copywriter and creative strategist — wrote this article to spread the word about Viva. It was a dream he and wife, Andrea Walker envisioned that has come to fruition.

How Viva began

Andrea — Viva’s co-owner and general manager — remembers weekend trips to a local coffee shop back in the ’90s. Her mother, Cheryl, would order her mocha, and her young daughters would revel in heavenly hot chocolate.

The rich smell of coffee and decadent goodies were imprinted into their minds from a young age. This resulted in both girls pursuing work in coffee shops in their twenties.

Years later, when Andrea and I moved our family to Rita Ranch, followed a few months later by her parents Cheryl and Richard Dunker, our love of good coffee followed.

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BOGO on our molasses cookies today. ?

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Coffee has this special way of connecting people like nothing else can. It is sipped over some of life’s most important moments, and can even disrupt the mundane with moments of delight.

Fulfilling a need in Tucson

Viva Coffee House began as an answer to a need. For a number of months, our Walker/Dunker family quietly worked to create a solid business model, source local goods, and train a staff who would carry forth the family vision.

“We moved here from Oregon last summer and found ourselves driving 20+ minutes out of Rita Ranch to get a really good cup of local coffee,” said Andrea.

“We got this notion that we could help bring locally crafted coffee to our community, in a really nice and welcoming environment.”

Until recently, the Rita Ranch/Vail area has only had large chain options with limited seating and less-than-serene settings.

With the opening of Viva Coffee House this past October, this side of town now has a local, sit-down specialty coffee house.

Locally sourced and community supported

“Our main goals were to serve ethically-sourced coffee, as many local goods as possible, and to create an environment that our community could truly enjoy.

We made sure to invest in equipment that would produce the best product and a quiet environment,” said Andrea. “We wanted Viva to be a quality experience, an oasis where people would feel at home and connected.”

Viva Interior (Credit: Kelly Walker)

Viva Interior (Credit: Kelly Walker)

One of the first steps in the journey was finding the best local suppliers to meet Viva’s needs.

“We chose Presta Coffee Roasters of Tucson to supply our coffee. It was a no-brainer for me,” said Andrea.

“The moment I tasted their coffee, it brought back childhood memories at coffee shops with my mom and sister, hearing the sound of my dad running the coffee grinder early Saturday mornings, and the taste was reminiscent of the independent roasters I love so much in the Northwest.”

Viva Coffee House also serves fresh pastries made by Mad Batter Bakery on the Eastside. The products — such as Tucson’s Curly Wolf Kombucha — are sourced locally.

Receiving love and community support

The new Coffee House has come out of the gate with five-star reviews and a welcoming reception from the community. We “are delighted to be part of the community mosaic and look forward to serving the community for years to come.”

Viva Coffee House is located at 9136 E. Valencia Rd., in the Rita Ranch Safeway Plaza. For more information, visit

Kelly John Walker is a former marketing agency owner, creative strategist and senior copywriter with over 15 years in the industry. He continues as a freelance marketing consultant, copywriter and co-owner of Viva Coffee House in Tucson, Arizona.