It started with a simple Tweet. Aimee Woodall, owner of Black Sheep marketing/publicity firm, was a fan of the mushroom burger at Little Bigs, a slider stop in the Montrose area (2703 Montrose, 713-521-2447). She was disappointed when she stopped in at the eatery one day only to find the mushroom burger gone and replaced with a black bean slider. A lot of back and forth on Twitter, Facebook and other social media ensued, and pretty soon Woodall and associate Lindsay Bosslet found themselves planning to lead a tongue-in-cheek lunchtime protest today against Little Bigs, complete with protest signs, handfuls of black beans to throw at the restaurant's owner, and a free lunch courtesy of their firm Black Sheep.
"The [mushroom] burger was my favorite. The black bean burger is just really average and really dry. The mushroom burger was stuffed with three cheeses and then fried. It was just amazing. I brought it up on Twitter, and people started responding - with a lot of passion.
"I actually follow Bryan Caswell, the [co-owner of Little Bigs and Reef], on Twitter and I asked him, 'What's going on? Why did you pull the mushroom burger from the menu?' and he said, 'Oh, it's complicated.' I started making jokes that we were going to start a petition and that we were going to protest until he brought it back. I started talking about that on Twitter, and people responded saying to count them in."[jump]
While the protest has all the earmarks of a publicity stunt, it might be more accurately described as friendly protest by publicity-minded people. Woodall makes it clear that Little Bigs is not compensating Black Sheep, and Caswell is not in any way cooperating or supporting the action.
"We are a new company in town for marketing and PR, kind of a rebellious, non-traditional approach to things," says Woodall. "This [protest] is the type of thing that we like to do. So basically the idea for us was to do something about something that we're passionate about, and also see how we could bring people together using social media. We used Facebook, we used Twitter, we used our blog. Now we have complete strangers coming to join us ... because they loved the mushroom slider."
With just 20 people expected to attend the event, the media might outnumber the protesters. But there's one person Woodall is especially hopeful will attend: owner Bryan Caswell. "We kinda tipped Bryan off that there's going to be something going on ... so we're hoping that he's going to address our protest and that he may actually bring back the mushroom slider. We're hoping that doing something like this will show him that lots of people were big fans of the mushroom burger and that what replaced it is just nowhere near the same caliber. We're hoping that he'll bring it back."
And what about those black beans protesters will be slinging? "I told Bryan that he may want to wear old clothes because a lot of people want to throw stuff at him, and he said, 'If I come, I'm wearing a suit.'"