Best Of 2021

Best Type of War: Cincinnati’s restaurant tip wars

Cincinnati’s restaurant tip wars — inspired by the rivalry between Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati — started in January 2021, when an XU-loving patron and his two daughters stopped by Zip’s Cafe in Mount Lookout and left a hefty $1,000 tip on their $54.95 bill. The strangers also left a note acknowledging the employees’ hard work during these difficult pandemic-ridden times, and asked the waiter to share the tip with the other workers. The note wrapped up with a short but sweet “Go Xavier.” Zip’s shared the note on Facebook... and the ball kept on rolling. Several days later, customers at Keystone Bar & Grill’s Clifton location followed suit, dropping a $1,001 tip on a $31.80 bill with a note that read, “I believe now more than ever we need to support our local restaurants. Let’s see how long we can keep this going... Bearcats up by 1!!” It took a little over a week for the rebuttal, but patrons at two more local restaurants offered a little more than the typical 20% gratuity. A Xavier fan graciously tipped $1,002 on a $65.73 bill at Over-the-Rhine’s Goose & Elder with a note saying, “Hey Bearcats! Ball is in your court. Go XU!!!” And just two days later, a regular to West Side eatery Chandler’s Burger Bistro really upped the ante during their lunchtime visit, dropping a tip of $1,005 on a $20.57 check, with a note reading, “Nobody supports the hard working people in the service industry like the Cats! Please share with the staff. Cats with the Dunk and One, up by 3! $1,005 — X goes quiet!!!” And the generosity has continued in this rivalry of good deeds for our much-deserving service industry.