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A Spirited Journey: From Café to Community Hub

Arancini Balls lined on plate, made by The Spirited Goat. BDmag. February 2024.

Ten years ago, Harry and Mel Crawford left Brisbane to embark on a new adventure and opened a small café with a quirky name in one of Townsville’s up-and-coming suburbs, Idalia.

“The name was a great place to start, we needed a story to tell, and the myth of how coffee started in the Ethiopian highlands was perfect,” recalls Mel.

“Kaldi noticed his goats eating the coffee cherry off the trees and said they were lively or spirited. He took his findings to the monks who said it tasted horrible and threw it in the fire. Of course, it smelt so good, how could they not brew it up!”

And so, The Spirited Goat was born, and quickly established a loyal customer base and reputation for excellence.

“We wanted to sell exceptional coffee and offer a light breakfast menu, but we soon realised that Townsville wanted more from us, so our little shop kept growing,” says Mel.

“Our camp-style kitchen with all benchtop appliances shocked people when they saw it – how could we possibly make all that food with no kitchen!

“After seven years, we knew we had outgrown our original site, so when a larger space became available, we jumped at the opportunity to create a more refined menu and bar in a community we loved so much.

“In addition to The Spirited Goat, we’ve since opened the ‘baby’ Goat on the James Cook University campus.”

The Spirited Goat Precinct is now open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner, with renowned head chef Damien Tosh leading the charge with an inspired menu that Mel describes as “fresh, simple food with a touch of elegance.”

Rose Alcock (Manager), Harry and Mel Crawford (Owners), Damien Tosh (Head Chef)

“We are so proud to have Damien as part of the Goat family. We never thought we would be serving such incredible food from our kitchen.

“The shared dining area in the Precinct allows families and groups to come together and choose from the different eateries and the Goat’s licensed bar. We have live music on Friday evenings, and we’re proud to now be hosting a range of event such as wine degustation evenings.

“We love that our local customers can walk to enjoy a more relaxed dinner if they don’t feel like going out.”

Reflecting on the past decade, Mel credits their success to relationships they have formed with staff, local suppliers, and their customers.

“It has been a decade of passion, community and of course, exceptional food and coffee,” says Mel.

“Over the years we have been all about quality, and we have bought from local suppliers like Three Loaves Bakery and Pope Relishes from day one. We use ONA coffee because they are leaders in the coffee industry and continue to innovate and support us.

Celebrating 10 years of The Spirited Goat

“We love nothing more than creating relationships with our customers and suppliers, and we were overwhelmed by the turn out to our 10-year celebration party. It was truly humbling for Harry and I to look around at so many smiling faces and reflect on the support each and every one has given us over the years – they really have become family to us.

“Looking ahead, we are excited about the future. We see ourselves as a hub for the community, somewhere to come for any occasion and always feel at home.

“We will continue to grow and foster the sense of community that has defined us.”

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Image credits: Images supplied.



Compiled by the BDmag editorial team


Compiled by the BDmag editorial team