The annual “Crosstown Shootout” between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University is the biggest rivalry in southern Ohio basketball, but fans who had to watch the latest game from home because of the coronavirus pandemic are turning it into Cincinnati’s most philanthropic rivalry.
Fans of both teams have been leaving ever-bigger tips at local restaurants, writing messages supporting their team of choice on the receipt. They’re calling it the “Crosstown Tip-Off.”
The Birch, a wine bar in Terrace Park, was the latest eatery to be the recipient after a Xavier fan left the largest tip yet in the competition – $4,525 on a $54.98 bill, the restaurant wrote on Facebook.
The big tip had been crowd-funded by more than 90 local families, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“The staff at The Birch is beyond speechless and so appreciative for the tip collect by the community of Terrace Park,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook. “Go Xavier.”
The tip-off started with a $1,000 tip left at Zip’s Café in Mount Lookout. The big tipper left a note asking the server to share the tip with all the employees and added, “Go Xavier!”
That came just a few weeks after the Xavier Musketeers won the latest match-up against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats 77-69.
Since then, UC fans have responded in force. As of Tuesday, a list of tips compiled by FOX19 in Cincinnati showed that Bearcats fans had tipped more than $20,400, while Musketeers fans had tipped about $12,644.
Regardless of which team ends up tipping the most, restaurant workers who’ve taken a financial hit because of the pandemic stand to win in the competition.
Aaron Tritsch, owner of The Birch, thanked the bar’s patrons and the community for supporting local restaurants with the tip-off.
“It’s inspiring kindness and generosity all across our city,” Tritsch wrote in a Facebook post. “We can all use a little kindness. Yesterday, thanks to the work of some sweet friends, our community came together in a big way to show us kindness.”