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The Gold Star Chili Franchise Story

How four Jordanian brothers created a new chili recipe and a thriving business

The Jordanian people are known for a culture of an all-encompassing hospitality. No matter how little a family might have, their door was always open and there was a seat at the table for guests. In the early 1900s, a tobacco farmer and his wife lived that generosity, even though their resources were scarce, teaching an unforgettable lesson to their 10 children.

That made an impact on their children, several of whom eventually emigrated to America to follow their uncle Toufig, who had settled in Cincinnati. By the late 1950s, Basheer, Charlie, Frank and Dave were working towards opening their business.

A Cincinnati chili dynasty is born thanks to a family’s shared resources

The brothers and their families were very close-knit, and they spent many evenings talking about what kind of business venture they could partner in. They saw the rise of neighborhood chili parlors and were intrigued. In 1963, they put their combined savings of $12,000 to buy a restaurant – Hamburger Heaven – because of its excellent location in the Mt. Washington neighborhood, its attached two-family home, and its reputation for great burgers and Cincinnati chili.

Almost immediately Dave began tinkering in the kitchen. He had grown up watching his mother select spices in their local marketplace, and so he began his own journey of exploration, connecting with high-quality suppliers and then sampling, sniffing and blending his way to a new combination that would become Gold Star’s legendary chili. It was a hit, sales of chili skyrocketed and soon hamburgers were running a distant second. The name Gold Star was suggested by an older relative, who recalled a luxury Jordanian brand, and no one wished to argue with a respected elder — and so Gold Star was born.


In the years since, the Gold Star Chili franchise story has lengthened, and our Gold Star family has grown, making this amazing brand a well-loved dining choice throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. Now with more than 70 locations, Gold Star is a recognizable and beloved part the Cincinnati chili tradition.

Want to bring a Gold Star franchise to your community? We are expanding outward from our Cincinnati roots and looking for enthusiastic franchise partners who want to join our family and offer our amazing chili and other delicious menu items, as well as our legendary customer service in their area. Ready to learn more? Click here and we’ll send over some detailed information and arrange a call so we can answer any questions you have.

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