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OTR Chili closes its doors due to labor shortages, rising food costs

The restaurant's last day was April 13
OTR Chili
Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 15, 2022

CINCINNATI — OTR Chili announced that it has closed its doors as of Wednesday, April 13.

The restaurant, located on Elm Street adjacent to Rhinegeist Brewery, said on Facebook its goal since day one has been to "make the best Cincinnati chili possible."

OTR Chili prided itself in its sustainability efforts. The restaurant sourced and butchered in-house, bought from local farmers and worked to decrease its environmental impact through composting and repurposing materials.

"With all that said, there is also the reality that this is the toughest time to be in the restaurant business," owner Jim Cornwell said in a statement. "Labor shortage and rising food and material costs have made even the best ideas an incredibly difficult endeavor, and in this attempt we have fallen short."

The restaurant isn't the first Cincinnati business to be touched by rising labor shortages. Likewise, inflation has hit a 40-year high. Russia's war in Ukraine has also caused world food commodities like oil and grains to reach their highest price levels, according to the United Nations.

Despite the recent close, Cornwell and his team are not swearing off the future or the possibility of reopening.

"We know that there is a place for this restaurant in this city," Cornwell said. "It may have a different name, some different faces, and in a different location, but the dream to bring what we think is the best chili in the city will go on."

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