Star Chili opens in Versailles
Wanda English Burnett
The official ribbon cutting for Gold Star Chili in Versailles
was held Monday, March 21 as a crowd gathered for the VIP event.
Partners Marc Rulli and Dave Mayerik, welcomed those attending,
with Mayerik saying, This is a dream come true for me.
Rulli first thanked Sandy Pickett, who had the initial idea for
the restaurant, then Scott and Cindi Neal, who own the strip mall
named Neal-Weir Plaza.
The Versailles franchise of Gold Star Chili began as a dream for
Sandy Pickett of Versailles, and grew to the finished product
it is today with the help of many dedicated people. Picketts
partner at Meisberger Real Estate, Mary Beth Castner, told the
Osgood Journal that Pickett was successful in selling the properties
where houses once stood and getting the ball rolling to make the
land ready for a business - a fast food business. She (Pickett)
put out the invitation to many fast food places, Castner
noted. Gold Star Chili responded and with the help of the Neals
who purchased the property and turned it into a strip mall, was
able to proceed with construction.
There was a 1865 brick house sitting on the property where Gold
Star Chili now sits. Neal explained that a brick wall inside the
restaurant is made with bricks from that original house preserving
history while looking to the future. Also, large foundation stones
are in place around the landscape of the plaza and were also taken
from the foundation of the brick house. The building was designed
by the Neals. Travis Neal was the project manager for the three-unit
While it has taken a little longer than those involved anticipated,
they are excited that the day has finally come. Pending documentation
that is promised to be in place by March 22 - the newest restaurant
in Versailles will be open at 10:00 a.m. today.
The word was official at the 2009 Versailles Pumpkin Show in September
that a Gold Star Chili was coming to Versailles. It seemed appropriate
timing for the Rullis since Marcs wife, Kristi (French)
Rulli had been crowned the 1992 Versailles Pumpkin Show Queen.
Readers watched the newspaper where it was first announced and
called asking when it would be coming. Its been a
long road, noted Rulli.
That long road came to an end and ultimately a beginning on Monday
when the VIP event was held showcasing the menu which includes
everything from all types of chili selections to double decker
sandwiches piled high with roast beef, turkey, ham, and bacon.
The menu also includes a variety of desserts including premium
ice cream shakes.
The warm atmosphere on the inside of the restaurant that seats
90 plus, is inviting with some of the highlights being a large
wall mural, brick center wall with a television, with seating
to your liking - booths or tables. It also boasts outdoor patio
dining for the summer months.
Gold Star Chili commissioned nationally known artist, C.F. Payne
to visually tell the Gold Star/Cincinnati-style chili story. He
captured it beautifully with a one-of-a kind mural that includes
one of the owner's children. The Rulli children, Alessa, Jacob
and Dominic, are on the mural. Jacobs likeness dons the
front of the menus at the Versailles restaurant. The panoramic
mural shows kids having their first cheese coney, teenagers on
a first date, family night, and veterans craving a taste of home.
C.F. Payne is best known for his portraits of the famous and powerful
and for his cover illustrations for publications such as Time,
Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, The New York Times Book Review,
and The Atlantic Monthly. He is recognized by many as the
Norman Rockwell of his generation. He is a Cincinnati native,
who is a life-long lover of Cincinnati-style chili. C.F.
Payne was the natural choice for a project like this for the brand
that is known as The Flavor of Cincinnati, noted Charlie
Howard, Gold Star Chili director of marketing. He further noted
that the famous artist's illustrations also depict everyday people,
the kind of regular, hard-working individuals and families who
have been Gold Stars core customers for the past 45 years.
He said the illustration is really a tribute to them.
At night, the business is illuminated with the mural being clearly
The owners of Gold Star Chili in Versailles are very community
oriented. They believe that if you take, you have to give back.
Thats their style of ownership displaying a desire to become
a part of the community they now have ownership in.
Marc and Dave are truly an asset for the community,
noted Neal at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday.
Neal told the Osgood Journal that contracts have been signed
for a Pizza Hut Express and Georges Family Pharmacy, which
will fill the three unit complex located between Washington and
Main streets across from UCB on US 50 in Versailles. The three
businesses should employ about 50 people when theyre all
in place. The first of April is a targeted date for the pizza
business and pharmacy to open.
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Above Scott and Cindi Neal, along with
owners of Gold Star Chili Dave Mayerik and Marc Rulli, prepare
to cut the ribbon for the official opening of the restaurant
in Versailles. Left photo: from left: Mary Beth Castner,
Betty Castner, of Meisberger Real Estate; Isabel Richmond,
Sandy Pickett, Meisberger Real Estate, and the person who
got the ball rolling for the project that brought the business
to the area; and her daughter, Pam Pickett.