Feliz Zaborsky of Queen Ceviche (Photo courtesy of Heirloom Farmers Markets)

How Feliz Zaborsky Keeps Local Food Producers, Like Herself, in Business 

April 18, 2024
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By Erika Howlett
By Erika Howlett

Feliz Zaborsky is staying busy. 

In addition to running farmer’s market staple Queen Ceviche she’s also the new owner of Market Tito’s, a prep kitchen for local food producers at 9105 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #103, and now she helps her niece run Howdy Juicy cold-pressed juices. 

Zaborsky started Queen Ceviche 13 years ago, becoming a hit at local farmers markets and businesses like Casa Video & Film Bar, MotoSonora Brewing, and more. 

Last October, she took things to the next level as the head of Market Tito’s, which supports more than 10 businesses, ranging from Ate Kei’s Filipino Treats to Tucson Chocolate Factory. It’s also a store and a community center on Tucson’s east side, hosting classes, plant swaps, and pop-up shops. 

She knows from firsthand experience that running a food business isn’t easy, and that’s why she’s eager to help out as many chefs as possible. Through it all, Zaborsky relies on her family and the community for help to keep everything running smoothly and tasting delicious. 

Check out my full interview with Zaborsky below.

Me: Where does your love of cooking come from? 

Zaborsky:  Probably my mother — she owned a Mexican restaurant in Tucson before I was born. My dad’s family from Chicago owned a butcher store. My grandfather owned a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, so I realize it’s literally in my genes. Food has always been a part of my family, in the background. 

Me: How’d you get started in the Tucson food scene? 

Zaborsky: I was born and raised here in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with business and entrepreneurship. I knew I wanted to do something in the food scene at some point. I worked at many restaurants for years. My sister and I had always done ceviche and we had this recipe from a cousin we thought would be good to sell at farmers markets. That’s where we started, 13 years ago. That was great, it’s been a lot of fun and we’re still doing that, for sure. But an opportunity came up to take over the kitchen that I was using to prep out of. The owner at the time was retiring so we ended up coming to an agreement. I took over the space, renamed it Market Tito’s which is a play on words, like a little store: mercadito in Spanish. 

It mainly operates as a small prep kitchen for food trucks and small food producers and then we have a space where we could also sell our ceviche and salsas that we still sell at farmer’s markets and festivals. But it’s definitely taken on a life of its own with all the small food producers that use the kitchen. I know for myself how hard it is to run a small food business. A lot of people don’t realize that you have to have a licensed kitchen approved by the county, so that’s an ordeal in itself to find one. I’m really happy that we can be part of that and help a lot of businesses and see them grow. So that’s really neat!

a store in a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace
Market Tito’s – Queen Ceviche (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Me: What kind of work goes into running Market Tito’s? 

Zaborsky: Honestly, the biggest thing is keeping the space clean and ready and everything functioning. I knew taking on this endeavor was going to come with its challenges, but you know, that’s what you take on anytime you want to grow and get to the next step. I’m getting better at it, between blowing fuses and water pipes breaking and dishwashers breaking. It’s nice to hear that the tenants feel comfortable when they come here. When you’re working hard and you’re preparing your product for hours, you just want it to be an environment that’s pleasant. Everyone has a scheduled time and we don’t want to overcrowd the kitchen. I let customers know as they come in the storefront that it’s a working kitchen. It’s a small space but we get a lot done. 

Me: What are your future plans for Market Tito’s? 

Zaborsky: We’re thinking of doing some cooking classes. We held a soap-making class last April. We have a plant swap. I just do whatever I think is fun and I find interesting. We have pop-ups: We have Butter and Whisk coming tomorrow with her fresh sourdough bread. It’s all over the place, it’s very fluid. It’s a nice way to introduce the community out here to local producers.

Me: What’s the biggest challenge of your job?

Zaborsky: Getting better at delegating and asking for help. Also, the unforeseen challenges that come up. It’s definitely not for everybody. Things happen and get sprung on you. It’s a little intimidating at times but I knew moving on from just having a booth at a market to having an actual commercial space was another step. It wasn’t going to be the easiest thing but I knew I didn’t want to pass it up. I love what I do, I love Queen Ceviche. We’ve got a following after all the years that we’ve been out and so many great friends we’ve made, and regulars at the farmers market, so this is just elaborating on what we’ve already been doing. 

a man cooking in a kitchen preparing food
Feliz Zaborsky of Market Tito’s and Queen Ceviche (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Me: What’s your favorite part of running Market Tito’s?

Zaborsky: I have a lot of favorite parts! Honestly, just meeting so many great people. I’m definitely a people person and I love to talk. I love to talk about food and what’s fun and what’s new. The time just flies by, we don’t even have enough time to fit in all the fun things to do. So I think it’s that: finally having a space where I can share fun little things with the folks around here.

Keep up with the latest by following Queen Ceviche and Market Tito’s (9105 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #103) on social media.

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