Lets face it, unless there’s a major event going on in Calgary, like the Calgary Stampede, Lilac Festival, Sled Island or Taste of Calgary (to name just a few) there isn’t a random night of excitement, that doesn’t involve friends suggesting usual lines like “Want to Grab a beer at the pub?” or “Lets go check out a movie.” Those are all fine things to do, but it gets old fast. Things also have a tendency to cost much more than many of us either want to spend or can afford. Alley Burgers has brought people together on a budget friendly, belly filling, social gathering, at a local Restaurant Charcut. Only catch is, you won’t be seated next to the window, with the view of the Calgary Tower, you won’t even be greeted by the hostess eagerly awaiting your arrival. Instead you’ll wait in line in the Alley, at their backdoor, stand next to a giant dumpster socializing with people you don’t know. Talk about Ice Breaker, I wouldn’t be inclined to start chatting to the table beside my guest and I at random, but in an Alley, it seems acceptable. C’mon, you’re surprised I said Alley? Aren’t Alley’s supposed to be scary? Are well-lit, mass populated Alley’s as scary as dark-supposed-to-be-vacant-alleys? No. Its Charcut’s unique way of serving an “off menu item” for only $5 dollars, all while providing a memorable experience.
How do you hear about the event? Well its all been done through the power of social media. I found out through Facebook, but I guess it stems through Twitter. I am hazy on the details as this whole thing was new to me, but I believe Charcut tweets out “Alley burgers on x day, come early because there is a limited supply.” I’m just ad – libbing if you want to know how it goes, follow them on twitter. When they say early they weren’t kidding. We arrived after finishing a glass of wine inside first at 9:05, to be greeted by at least 20 or so people, 20 people and burgers were to be served at 10? Are you kidding?
Once 10 o’clock hits you’ve almost forgotten why you were there, you just spent an hour chatting and laughing amongst people who you may never have spoken to or had the pleasure of meeting. This little Pig Open sign flings out and people begin to cheer, you are then quickly hit with an aroma of meaty deliciousness that snaps you back to the real reason you were there; The Burgers! I should clarify that little beer tickets are sold to you prior to them serving burgers to ensure that those who are in the front get a burger, ensuring they get paid and also to avoid getting trampled on.
The burgers are delicious, it’s not some cheap Mcdonalds burger, there’s no grease soaked bun. It’s a a juicy roasted garlic sausage patty consisting 80% pork, 20% Lamb with melted curd cheese nestled on a lightly toasted brioche bun with piri piri aioli. I’m no food connoisseur I had to refer to someone else on what I was consuming. If you aren’t a food critic just go with my whole “Its delicious.” Only negative, if you could call it that, is the bad breath you may have after consuming it, and no, Gum won’t help. But who cares, you aren’t a vampire or on a first date with someone in an Alley – you’d better not be at least, if you are, I wouldn’t suggest a makeout afterwards.
The experience was fabulous. It also paints a pretty clear picture about what Social Media is all about. If Alley Burger can be such a hit powered only through an online presence, imagine what else could be done, in, around, and outside our City, Province or Country.
So the next time someone asks you to meet in the Alley, what are you going to say? “Only if it’s for Alley Burger, weirdo!”