Giddy Goat owners cultivate community at Plaza Midwood

A breakfast empanada and a dirty chai latte sit on an outdoor table at The Giddy Goat Cafe in Charlotte. (Photo by Taylor McKenzie Gerlach)

One winter morning just before Christmas, a flood of shoppers line up at the Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters in Plaza Midwood to get their hands on a hot mug made from freshly roasted beans in the store, a process that customers can see. and smell before tasting the final product. Baristas serve Giddy Goat’s signature empanadas as savory snacks.

Friends chat over steaming cups, families play intense games of chess and Monopoly, and dogs roam the outdoor patio. Laptops and books are open as dog owners squeeze through sips and pay attention to what their furry friends are up to. Regulars stop to chat with the baristas while a few people stop to refuel before a group bike ride.

It’s just the social atmosphere that Giddy Goat owner Carson Clough envisioned when he opened this cafe in Charlotte, in the heart of Plaza Midwood, in the summer of 2020.

Inside the cafe, a mechanical roaster takes up floor space in much of the room. Another sample-sized pound roaster sits in the middle of the cafe, and a large cold brew tank sits along the opposite wall.

The integration of typical internal processes in coffee was an intentional conception of The Giddy Goat. Clough and co-founder Rhyne Davis loved the idea of ​​customers seeing the process in action, being able to ask the roasters questions and experience the artistic intricacies of their drink.

Davis had the idea of ​​a small cafe he visited in Cuba where, due to lack of space, the roaster was located right next to the cash register. It was implemented for convenience, but being able to taste the end product while hearing, seeing and smelling the roasting of the beans was an immersive experience for him.

This has helped cultivate the sense of community that has grown inside and outside the walls of The Giddy Goat since its opening. In fact, the team didn’t have to rely on a lot of advertising or social media marketing to build their base. With its welcoming atmosphere and prime location for foot traffic, The Giddy Goat has found its way through word of mouth and simply by existing.

For Clough, originally from Charlotte, landing in The Plaza was a dream come true.

“Plaza Midwood is very eclectic. I think it’s the coolest neighborhood in Charlotte… We were very lucky to find this place, ”he told Queen City Nerve. “I’m always thankful that it’s just a fun place and people are very social… We have clients who have lived here for 35 years and saw Charlotte when it wasn’t that big. It’s cool to hear these stories and see how they saw Plaza change and Charlotte change.

Enzo Pasos roasts coffee beans at The Giddy Goat Café in Charlotte
Enzo Pasos roasts coffee beans at Boutique Charlotte. (Photo by Taylor McKenzie Gerlach)

The evolution of The Giddy Goat

Clough and his business partner Davis were inspired to open The Giddy Goat in Charlotte during a European trip together, during which they fell in love with the social aspect of overseas cafes that served as both coffee. , lounge, bar and community center.

Clough admits that while the trip aroused his appreciation for coffee, he still didn’t know much about it at the time.

“It was an adventure that I thought would be fun to have,” he says.

The name, as explained in a mural inside the store, comes from Ethiopian legend which attributes the discovery of coffee to a goat farmer named Kaldi who noticed his goats running and dancing the night away after eating coffee beans.

The logo features a goat riding a coffee bean with a quirky smiley face, a reference to Clough’s love for surfing, which is also linked to his passion for the environment and his desire to run a sustainable business and respectful of the environment.

“I surf a lot and I’m sick of seeing coffee lids in the ocean… The goal is to have a business that can keep the lights on without polluting or putting in a lot of single-use plastics,” said Clough.

All of Giddy Goat’s take-out products are commercially compostable or recyclable, with the exception of waxed paper used to wrap some items. Clough is also working with a local composter to process his food waste and reuse it in the landscaping around the building.

After delving deeper into their newfound passion, the two began to explore ways to bring their own take on coffee. They worked with employees and customers to create a space that is far from a generic Charlotte cafe, but rather a community staple and a social force in the neighborhood.

Currently, Giddy Goat functions as a healthy mix between a cafe, cafe and bar.

In the summer of 2021, Giddy Goat expanded into the upstairs part of the building, creating the bar area and exploiting these European influences. Now customers can order beer, specialty cocktails, Truly pops and more.

Like other expansions and ideas from The Giddy Goat, the advent of the now iconic empanadas was a popular suggestion that quickly grew into a staple.

Customer Tony Tognarelli has bonded with roaster Enzo Pazos over their shared Argentinian roots. Tognarelli suggested adding something tastier to the menu, then brought dozens of empanadas to the team. They were devoured within minutes and Tognarelli has been the master of the house’s empanadas ever since.

The new upstairs space has been activated to serve more than a bar. Every Wednesday morning, the team moves all the furniture to organize sunrise yoga with instructors from Habitual Roots. After the hour-long class, participants can chat and connect over a pot of coffee.

The weekly community event kicked off when Habitual Roots client and co-founder Justin Ervin suggested the idea, and Clough accepted it.

Assistance dog Calder rests in the upstairs bar at Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters
Assistance dog Calder is resting in the upstairs bar at Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters. (Photo by Taylor McKenzie Gerlach)

What is the next year

In 2022, Clough plans to include an area for dogs who are required by state law to stay away from their establishment due to the food menu.

Located behind the parking lot, the space will officially open as Calder Park in the spring of 2022. Featuring picnic tables, the dog park will be named after the Clough Golden Retriever, a service dog that has been used for often found alongside Clough at the Goat.

Most of the small park’s building materials are items Clough rescued and reused from Plaza Midwood’s Thomas StrEATery, created in response to COVID-19 in 2020. Wood pallets and picnic tables once offered to businesses and nearby restaurants a temporary outdoor dining space are now the fences and tables of Calder Park.

Also coming in 2022 is a redesigned space for the human guests of The Giddy Goat, with upgrades to the second floor patio including a heated pergola to make the space comfortable all year round. Clough also wants to extend the bar’s opening hours later into the night (it currently closes at 6 p.m.) while adding more regular events like Tuesday tango and karaoke.

When it comes to coffee, Clough and Pazos are always learning more and refining their craft, so customers can look forward to new, creative roasts. He will send one of his employees to the roasting school to start developing their own style and their own art. He says the team has a healthy competitive spirit among them, always pushing each other to create an even better cafe.

“We can have some internal competitiveness to keep the product top notch,” Clough said.

The Giddy Goat evolves alongside Charlotte, constantly ebbing and ebbing in response to suggestions from their clients and teammates. 35 years from now, grab a coffee at Clough’s and let him tell you about the time he created a must-see hangout in the neighborhood in the heart of Plaza Midwood that didn’t just roast coffee, but became a full force.

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