The basketball rivalry between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University took a wholesome turn when it started a crosstown “tip-off” challenge benefiting local restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
This friendly war between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers has amassed over $34,000 in total tips for several Cincinnati establishments. The first tip to set things in motion happened on January 9 when a Xavier University alum visited Zip’s Cafe in Mount Lookout with his daughter.
In a grand act of generosity, the man paid for his $54.59 bill and left a $1,000 tip with a note that read: “Please share this tip with all of your employees as they work so hard and are dealing with COVID. Go Xavier!”
Zip’s Cafe shared the gesture on Facebook and this spurred two UCincinnati fans to make sure that their school isn’t left behind. They went to the Keystone Bar & Grill on January 14 and, in the spirit of the rivalry, left a tip of $1,001 and challenged the community to continue the tip-off.
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A few weeks after, the “Crosstown Tip-Off Challenge” has only gained steam and people have become more generous in their support. On Saturday night, $6,232 was given to lucky restaurants including a $3,000 tip for Clutch in Over-the-Rhine, considered to be the highest recorded amount given to date.
Mike Burke, the owner of Zip’s Cafe, knew that it was generally frowned upon in their line of work to brag or complain about tips but he still posted about the tip that his cafe received because it was more than just a competition between the two institutions.
“I think it was just the friendly generosity that really had more of an impact with the staff. Seeing somebody do something so generous just really put quite a few smiles on people’s faces, that’s for sure,” Burke told ABC News.
You can check out a list of the tips and the tally (excluding the $3,000 given to Clutch OTR by UC alumni) here.