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article imageCincinnati's Annual Pumpkin Pie Wars

By Nancy Houser     Nov 10, 2012 in Food
Cincinnati - Two companies in Cincinnati, Ohio, have boosted sales due to their annual pumpkin-pie wars --- the family-owned Busken Bakery and Frisch's Big Boy.The pumpkin-pie war has moved from billboards to Facebook to wickedly ingenious pranks.
Both businesses are duking-it-out which company makes the best pumpkin pie, developing into Cincinnati's full-fledged "pumpkin pie wars." Landing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, the Great Cincinnati Pumpkin Pie War has Frisch's-Busken pie war going national.
One notable prank was when Dan and Brian Busken placed a Busken apron from their small bakery on Frisch's Big Boy. Ski masks were worn by the men, who were also wearing fake mustaches. Both men posted their antics on YouTube and Facebook in a video, along with images of the billboard pranks.
The Busken Bakery is 84-years old, and is long known for its good sense of humor. Busken has billboards saying, "Having a Crumby Day" with a smiley-faced cookie on it. The pie wars began right before the holidays in 2010, when the Frisch's Restaurants, Inc., chain moved in with 95 restaurants and 25 franchisees. Part of this move was a billboard campaign for their holiday pumpkin pies, placing their chain billboard directly over one of Busken's ten stores. Retaliation was instant from the Busken brothers.
Busken Bakeries admit that there is not much different in the pie fillings at both companies, but WSJ states Busken claims their pies are superior in the crust. "It is all made from scratch," said Dan Busken."I would guess their crust is manufactured and brought in."
Regardless, the friendly rivalry has escalated to a loyal following for each company, with many saying Busken's pumpkin pies had more of a spice pronouncement and homemade scalloped crusts like "mom's pumpkin pie."
This year the rivalry began early with Bucken's advertising their low-calorie Halloween cookies, with a vampire cookie and the slogan: "Count Calories." Frisch's covered the vampire cookie with Big Boy vinyl stickers, changing the slogan to "Count Pies." This was when the Busken brothers placed the apron on Big Boy with their logo on it, while filming it all for YouTube.
Currently, a new billboard has gone up over the Busken factory that reads "Hard to be humble pie." The pie has whipped cream for eyes and a mouth, while smiling down onto the street.
Meanwhile, as the Busken boys stare at their competitor's new billboard, they muse, "Our minds are already spinning."
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