La Grange Incites a Mob -- the Good Kind

Which Dallas neighborhood is most supportive of green energy, locally owned businesses and grassroots solutions to pressing global problems?

If the winner of the recent Carrotmob competition is any indication, it's Deep Ellum -- although organizers say the community just narrowly edged out Oak Cliff.

"We did not play favorites," says Tajana Mesic, a Greendrinks Dallas leader who helped oversee the selection process. "We really would like to help out Oak Cliff as well."

A bit of background: A Carrotmob, sometimes described as a "reverse boycott," involves a business making a commitment to invest a certain percentage of single-day sales in energy-efficient upgrades. In exchange, Carrotmobbers agree to swarm the business on the designated day. The Carrotmob model calls for businesses to compete to be mobbed: The business that pledges the highest percentage of its sales becomes the mob's target.

For its first-ever Carrotmob, a coalition of Dallas environmental activists invited 12 local bars and restaurants to submit percentages. La Grange and Bolsa both came back with an 80 percent figure, but La Grange bumped up its offer to 81.5 percent. Mesic estimates more than 300 eaters will mob La Grange on October 13.

Referring to the truism that gave Carrotmob its name, Mesic says: "We don't believe in hitting anything with a stick."

Mob organizers have already convened a group of energy efficiency advisers to determine how La Grange should spend its money. The expert team includes an LED professional, an HVAC professional and a quality manager who helped assess existing kitchen practices.

"His conclusion was the chef is already doing a phenomenal job," Mesic says. "All the things that don't have to be thrown away, she's repurposing."

La Grange will serve a prix fixe menu on Carrotmob night; the take will be tallied hourly and posted on the restaurant's marquee.

"We believe in transparency," says Mesic.

So she's not shy about revealing plans for a second Carrotmob, which will most likely take place in Oak Cliff. That decision's consistent with Carrotmob philosophy:

"We don't create any enemies, and everyone wins," she says.

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