$34,000 in restaurant tips and counting for nationally recognized ‘war’ between Cincinnati fan bases

Alumni and fans from two Cincinnati universities are leaving large tips for restaurant employees who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the last month, more than $34,000 in tips have been left for restaurant workers by those who support the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.

This story has been followed closely by Cincinnati media, and there was a segment about this this morning on the Today Show.

The “tip wars” apparently started Jan. 9 when a Xavier alum left a $1,000 tip on a $54.59 bill at Zip’s Cafe. The man wrote on his napkin: “Please share this tip with all of your employees as they work so hard and are dealing with COVID. Go Xavier!”

Not wanting to be outdone by their cross-town rivals, two UC graduates left a $1,001 tip at Keystone Bar & Grill on Jan. 14.

“Bearcats up by 1!!” was written on the note.

Several other large tip totaling $34,252.06 have been left, according to media reports.

The largest tip reported was $2,500 left at Kirby’s in Loveland on Feb. 5 with just “GO UC!!!” written on the receipt.

Zip’s Cafe owner Mike Burke told ABC News the “friendly generosity” has put “a few smiles on people’s faces, that’s for sure.”

During the height of the pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine earlier said restaurants could only serve carry-out, then reopened them with a 10 p.m. curfew. Because the number of hospitalizations are dropping, the governor extended the curfew until 11 p.m.

The food industry has lost more than 110,000 restaurants and drinking establishments as of Dec. 2, according to a survey from the National Restaurant Association.

About the Author