The Great Cincinnati Tip-Off

By Riley Kinum January 16, 2021
Fans and alumni of Xavier University and University of Cincinnati have been trying to out-tip each other at Cincinnati restaurants. A total of almost $34,000 has been raised thus far.

In a warmup of sorts for March Madness, a different type of tip-off is occurring between University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Just a few miles apart, these two institutions share the same city. There is a competitive rivalry that brews between their sports teams and respective fans. The rivalry is spreading to the streets, but this time, it is all in good nature. Fans and alumni of University of Cincinnati and Xavier University are in a tipping war- a competition to see who can leave the biggest tip at local restaurants in Cincinnati.

It all started at Zip’s Cafe in January, when a former Xavier student left a $1,000 tip on his $54 bill. He wrote on an accompanying note to his fellow Xavier alumni server, “Please share this tip with all of your employees as they work so hard and are dealing with COVID. Go Xavier!”

After Zip’s Cafe posted this act of kindness on their social media, University of Cincinnati fans got bit by the competition bug. Six miles away from Zip’s Cafe at Keystone Bar and Grill, two Cincinnati fans left a $1,0001 tip and a note that read, “Earlier this week I saw a Xavier fan tip $1,000 at Zip’s…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!!” The bar posted a photo of the tip with the caption, “It’s your turn, Xavier fans! Who will be one-upping the Bearcats by leaving a $1,002 tip at your favorite local bar or restaurant?”

The tip war keeps going. The Birch, a wine bar in Terrace Park, recently received a $4,525 tip on a $54.98 bill. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the tip was crowd-funded by 90 local Xavier fans. In their last basketball matchup, the Xavier Musketeers beat the Cincinnati Bearcats 77-69. Bearcats are trying to redeem themselves by upping their tipping numbers. According to FOX19, Bearcats: $20,400 and Musketeers: $12,644.

Regardless of the team tallies, a total of $33,044 has been given to restaurants, a sector hit especially hard by the pandemic. Around 110,000 American restaurants are either permanently closed or facing long-term closures. This money means a lot both financially and symbolically. It is helping these struggling businesses stay open while also showing owners and staff that they have the support and compassion of their community.