Gold Star Chili
|Founded||1965 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA|
|Headquarters||650 Lunken Park Drive,
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45226-1800
|Area served||Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana|
|Key people||Mike Rohrkemper, CEO
Gold Star Chili is a restaurant chain based in Cincinnati, Ohio, that sells Cincinnati chili. The original restaurant was established in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Mt. Washington in 1965 by four Orthodox brothers from Jordan. Gold Star Chili is the "Official Chili" of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gold Star Chili was founded in 1965 by four Jordanian brothers in Mount Washington, originally under the name Hamburger Heaven. As the original name suggests, the original vision for their restaurant was primarily hamburgers. However, they also had a chili recipe that they began modifying, soon finding that customers were ordering the chili more than any of the other menu items. As a result, the brothers changed the restaurant name to Gold Star Chili and removed many of the other items from their menu.
In 1993 Tony Pérez, then manager of the Cincinnati Reds and former member of the Big Red Machine, kicked off a promotion campaign for the restaurant. During his baseball years Pérez's nickname was "Big Dog", and since the chain was ready to promote their new foot long cheese coney, Gold Star saw a promotional opportunity, naming it "Big Doggie". For the promotion, the store offered customers 16-inch (410 mm) miniature Louisville Slugger baseball bats for US$1.99, and Pérez did various in-store signing sessions for fans. In the past, Gold Star Chili has also hired other Reds players for promotional campaigns, most notably Pete Rose.
The famous chili is produced at the chain's commissary, starting with large vats of suet which are melted down. Added to this are dried white onions, which cook for approximately thirty minutes. The next ingredients are ground beef and their "secret" concoction of spices, which cook for another hour or more. Finally, tomato sauce and water are added, which are boiled for three hours into a concentrate. After a cooling period, the product is then packed and shipped to one of their restaurants.
According to an interview with Basheer Daoud (a son of one of the founders) by Neal Conan of National Public Radio in 2005, the chain's commissary produces nearly 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg) of food product for the restaurants per day.
Gold Star Chili restaurants, both company-owned and franchised, are located in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana—a total of 93 as of April 2012. Additionally, a relative of the Daoud family founded Chili House restaurants that serve a similar product in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Gold Star Chili for the past several years has been a major sponsor of the Cincinnati Bengals.
- "Gold Star Chili CEO receives award". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2014-06-21.
- "Taste of Cincinnati". Cincinnati Bengals. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Cincinnati chili stakes its claim Cincinnati Enquirer; Sep. 10, 2004
- "Listener Letters and Hello Cincinnati". National Public Radio. 2005-08-22. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
- Walkup, Carolyn (1993-08-09). "Gold Star Chili says 'so long' to the 'Big Doggie.' - promotional campaign for chili hot dogs". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Lumis, Susan Herrmann (1989-04-16). "Fare of the Country: A City's Romance With a Bowl of Chili". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "Locations". Gold Star Chili. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "About Us". Chili House. Retrieved 2007-08-24.