Hubcap Grill's Anti-Yelp party, held this past Sunday, had everything a stellar party should have: delicious food, a fantastic beer selection, beautiful people, excellent music, gorgeous weather, and a couple of visits by the police. Hipsters, foodies, and fun-loving adults traveled from far and near to revel in Hubcap Grill's hospitality. Hospitality, meaning the provision of gift certificates for the first 50 guests, a lively performance by '80s band The Spicolis, giveaways throughout the afternoon, and complimentary locally brewed beer (eight kegs, to be exact).
Notably absent from the event was any anti-Yelp paraphernalia or crowds of people chanting menacingly about the reviewers that post on the site. In fact, we didn't hear the word "Yelp" from anyone in attendance -- not even by Hubcap Grill's owner, Ricky Craig, also the organizer of the event.
It wasn't until a post-event conversation that Ricky shared with me that he simply thinks that Yelp should get rid of the star ratings. He also wishes that people would understand one thing; "Hubcap is a place to relax. If you're cranky, in a bad mood, or want the jukebox music to be turned down, or if you're in a big rush, then Hubcap isn't the place for you."
Yes, Ricky is tired of the "wannabe foodies" who post on Yelp. Yes, the idea for the Anti-Yelp, F*ck Yelp, #YuckFelp -- call it what you want -- extravaganza sprouted after an angry Yelp reviewer complained about Hubcap running out of burgers well before closing time.
But in the days leading up to and during the event, Ricky's public tweets and actions made it clear that his desire to express his sincere appreciation for his customer's patronage superseded his desire to give the middle finger to the review site that recently made its stock market debut.
And Ricky was quite hospitable toward the approximate 300 people in attendance on Sunday. All afternoon, he could be seen wandering around, chatting with his guests and ensuring that everyone was having a great time.
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And a great time was had by all. How could people not have enjoyed themselves when ice cold Karbach, No Label, Southern Star, and St. Arnold brews flowed freely throughout the afternoon? The beer, some of Houston's finest burgers, and an energy-charged performance by The Spicolis were, simply put, a winning combination. The only hiccups of the day were a couple of visits by HPD due to noise complaints ("sabotage", as Ricky calls it) and some hipsters having their pale skin color burned by the scorching sun.
If you missed the party, worry not, as the success of Sunday's party has inspired Ricky to attempt to hold monthly Sunday shindigs, in which beer-drinking and burger-eating take place to the beat of a three-piece rock blues band, with completely complimentary sun and sunblock.