With more chili parlors per capita than anywhere else in the world, Cincinnati is unofficially Chilitown USA. On National Chili Day, Gold Star Chili will launch its petition drive to have city leaders officially recognize Cincinnati as Chilitown USA. Starting February 25, Gold Star Chili staff and volunteers will be on site at various community events gathering signatures of local citizens interested in promoting Cincinnati’s chili heritage in an official nickname. Gold Star Chili customers can sign the petition at all participating Greater Cincinnati locations and online.
Gold Star Chili plans to collect as many as 50,000 signatures by the end of six months. At that time, Gold Star Chili plans to make a presentation in front of city leaders to recognize Cincinnati as Chilitown USA. Gold Star Chili marketing director Charlie Howard cites the 2/1/2010 issue of Brandweek for the marketing rationale for this initiative.
“Cities have a long tradition of utilizing food and beverage heritage to distinguish themselves,” he says. “Think Milwaukee—Beer City. The Brandweek article references Battle Creek, Michigan, as Cereal City. Cincinnati-style is one of the defining characteristics of living in Cincinnati and in our opinion, something that our city leaders should embrace.”
To celebrate Cincinnati-style chili, Gold Star Chili will also offer a 99-cent National Chili Day “Coney Mania” all day long at participating Greater Cincinnati locations from open to close.
Finally, Gold Star Chili is sponsoring its first annual Neighbor-Helping-Neighbor Canned Food Drive, benefiting Matthew 25: Ministries, a Cincinnati-based international humanitarian relief organization. For the canned food drive, Gold Star Chili is calling all local customers to bring canned or other non-perishable food items to any Greater Cincinnati neighborhood Gold Star Chili restaurant. On National Chili Day, Gold Star Chili will count and collect all the donated food items from its participating restaurant locations and make a matching donation of its canned Cincinnati-style chili. Gold Star Chili will deliver all donated items to Matthew 25: Ministries’ food bank to help them restock their shelves after their massive Haiti relief initiative.
Gold Star Chili’s corporate philosophy is to look for ways to channel the area’s passion for eating chili into compassion for those less fortunate in the region.
“Gold Star Chili is Greater Cincinnati’s neighborhood chili parlor and because of the current economic conditions, many of our neighbors are hurting right now,” says Mike Rohrkemper. “Therefore, this year and in the years that follow, we hope to approach National Chili Day as a Cincinnati-style day of community services as well as an annual tradition celebrating our community’s pride in its favorite food.”