On any given Friday afternoon in the Poe Mill area of Greenville, a patio full of friends enjoy a drink together at an old body shop with the garage doors rolled up.
Pass the same spot on your morning commute and you’ll notice customers cozied up inside with a latte and laptop, enjoying hushed coffee shop vibes. Is that a bike shop, too? But wait—what about Tuesday night trivia, the space vibrant with music and laughter? And, oh goodness gracious, have you had one of their waffles yet?
A bar? A coffeehouse? A bike shop? Waffle stand? Well, yes, all of the above: this is Mountain Goat, a gathering space founded by husband-and-wife team Ryan and Chrissy McCrary.
While at first glance it is both a coffee shop and bar, at its heart, Mountain Goat solely exists to house and fund Great Outdoor Adventure Trips (or GOAT). Founded by Ryan in 2008 as a nonprofit offering free outdoor trips for at-risk kids in Greenville, GOAT believes that the outdoors provides a unique environment for students to get out of their comfort zones and try something new. As a Christian-based organization, GOAT staff share the gospel with students and provide them with mentors, jobs, and purpose. Many GOAT students become trip guides, wanting to share their life-changing experiences with friends and neighbors.
Operating Mountain Goat invites the greater community into the McCrarys’ calling. “We want everyone to be a part of this mission with us,” Chrissy shares. This means that the profits from that cortado or IPA you enjoy go directly to fund another adventure. It’s for-profit for a nonprofit, or as the Mountain Goat website says, “Drink up, you’re changing the world.”
Wednesdays at Mountain Goat offer a particularly heady experience. A cloud of vanilla, yeast, and butter envelop and guide you inside: it’s Waffle Wednesday.
Not any run-of-the-mill box-mix batter, these Liège waffles are a singular treat, born out of a COVID-19 project when the McCrary’s shuttered the shop for several months. Pressed on an 80lb cast waffle iron imported from Belgium, the dough alone takes two days to prepare. The brioche is studded with pearl sugar that melts upon touching the iron, creating a waffle with a caramelized exterior and a stretchy, laminated interior.
Delicious as-is, Mountain Goat’s kitchen staff up the ante by offering various sweet or savory toppings that rotate with the seasons. Can food be life-changing? Heavenly? Addictive? Ask anyone behind the bar, and they’ll tell you they’ve heard it all.
The McCrary’s plan to begin serving the waffles every day in the near future, with dinner waffle pop-ups monthly. In addition to waffles, yogurt parfaits, scones, and muffins fill the pastry case. The more you enjoy, the more you’re benefitting future generations. That’s something to cheer about.
Mountain Goat GVL, 120 Shaw St, Greenville. (864) 735-0821, mountaingoatgvl.com; for more on GOAT, go to goatgvl.org