UC alumni, fans engage in 'Crosstown Tip-off'

UC-XU tipping challenge yields thousands of dollars for restaurant workers

The crosstown rivalry between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University has left the court and entered the restaurant scene.

Alumni and fans of both Cincinnati institutions have created a friendly competition to leave the biggest tip at local restaurants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 20 Cincinnati bars and restaurants, including Skyline Chili, Zip's Café and R.P. McMurphy's, have reported increasingly sizeable tips left by diners, often with a note encouraging the opposing team to up the ante. So far, the largest single tip exceeded $4,500, with money pooled from 90 area families.

National media picked up on the upbeat local story, including CNN, the Washington Post and The Today Show.

It all started at Zip's Café in early January when a Xavier alumnus visiting the school with his daughter left a $1,000 tip on a $54 bill along with a note for 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!" the man wrote.

After the restaurant shared a photo of the kind gesture on social media, two University of Cincinnati fans left a $1,001 tip and a note at Keystone Bar & Grill.

"Earlier this week I saw a Xavier fan tip $1,000 at Zip's," the rivaling note 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!!"

The friendly tip-off has continued over a month. The effort has now gone online to raise money for local restaurant and bar workers. Chad Brendel, who runs BearcatJournal.com, and Rick Broering of MusketeerReport.com challenged fans to donate tips through Venmo or Paypal. Combined, fans raised more than $20,000 in 24 hours, according to Local 12.

"Xavier and UC happen to be three miles apart which makes it one of the closest rivalries in college sports," Zip's Café owner Mike Burke told CNN. "I think the proximity has definitely helped drive the traction on this very generous, feel good movement."

Read the full story on CNN.

Featured image at top/Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash