I was wandering around 45th Street the other day, and what should I see but a little storefront gelato shop called Fainting Goat Gelato.
Maybe the little fella's just trying to get a tan...
Now a normal person might've just walked right on by. But me? I've never been accused of being normal. What's more, the name "Fainting Goat" struck a chord with me because, back in Denver, one of my favorite bars ("favorite" because it was almost right across the street from my office and employed very understanding bartenders who were willing to put up with my inebriated ass all day) was also called The Fainting Goat.
While I never quite got the full story on how the owners of Denver's Goat came by the name, the fact that I now knew of two places in two widely separated cities got me thinking that there had to be something to this. First place I went? To the ever-dependable interweb.
Come to find, there are a bunch of places named the Fainting Goat. From a pub in Denver to a gelateria in Seattle, a bar in Waverly, Iowa, a restaurant in Regina, Saskatchewan, a marketing agency in Wisconsin and a music festival in Lewisburg, Tennessee, it seemed that the name was more popular than I ever would've imagined. So I decided to call Yalcin Ataman, owner of Fainting Goat Gelato in Wallingford, and see where he came up with the moniker.
"We were looking for goat milk," Atawan told me, once I'd explained to him why I was bothering him at his place of business. "We're Turkish, you know. And sometimes we make gelato with the goat milk. We found some small goat farms, but we were looking for a good amount of milk" Unfortunately, Atawan wasn't finding a lot of goat farmers in Washington who could provide him with enough milk to sustain a goat-milk gelato operation so he (like I did), turned to the internet.
"We were seeing all these names, and then we see 'Fainting Goat.' I thought, maybe, it was the name of another small farm..."
Actually, though, it turned out to be a video. Of a goat. Fainting. Which is just...excellent.
I could seriously watch that ten times in a row and it would still be funny.
Like the video said, these are goats with a rather unusual defense mechanism: when startled or scared, they just fall over--a tactic which might not do them any favors in the wild, but has made them a Youtube darling.
As a matter of fact, fainting goats are so popular, they even have their own fan club: the International Fainting Goat Association. There are fainting goat clubs, fainting goat websites, people who sell fainting goats as pets. And in the end, a fainting goat makes a pretty good namesake, too. If for no other reason than they look very cool in logos.
This is what Yalcin has to work with
Here's the sign outside my old bar in Denver.
And this, just for fun, is four more pictures of paralyzed goats.
Ataman told me that, as soon as he and his family saw the video, they knew it would be the perfect name. And he was right. He's been selling t-shirts with the Fainting Goat logo on them, and has been getting people from as far away as Chicago picking them up.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering? He did finally find the goat milk he was looking for, so if you're looking for a place to get Turkish goat milk gelato, now you know where to go...