Have you ever wondered what makes the perfect potato chip? Well, the perfect potato of course. And for The Billy Goat Chip Company in St. Louis, those are Idaho russet potatoes.

“We developed the process to take these russets and cook them in a way that brings out the sugar that’s in them, and we caramelize that, which is why our chips are a little bit more golden and darker in color,” owner Brian Roth says. “We’re actually developing flavors inside of the potato, and that’s what makes our chips distinctly different than anything else on the market.”

In 2002, Brian opened a small restaurant named Billy Goat Restaurant and Bar that specialized in lunches and initially created the chips to save time during the lunch rush. They could make the chips right before lunchtime to accompany the sandwiches, which took less time than making french fries. The chips soon became one of the most popular items on the menu.

“It came out of a need to look for efficiencies without sacrificing quality at our restaurant,” Brian says. “When we came up with the chips, we thought we nailed it.”

And time would tell that they did. People started asking for just the chips and larger orders. Soon, the restaurant was selling five-gallon pickle jars full of the fresh and crispy chips to customers.

Brian Roth holds a heart-shaped russet potato. Photo courtesy The Billy Goat Chip Company.

“If you listen to people, they’ll tell you exactly what they want,” Brian says.

The chips are made with simple ingredients, kosher certified, and have no preservatives, MSG, trans fat, or gluten. They are topped with a light seasoning that Brian calls dust, which is simple and doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor. You can really taste the potato, instead of salt, while you are snacking, and your fingers aren’t covered in oil afterward.

In 2008, Brian sold the restaurant and launched The Billy Goat Chip Company in 2009, which sells wholesale around the country. Tours are offered at the manufacturing location in St. Louis. Classic potato chips along with sweet potato and kicker chips, which are known for a spicy flavor, are sold statewide and nationally. Bottles of seasonings are sold, too. The company also has partnered with Sugarfire Smokehouse, another St. Louis business, to create handcrafted barbecue potato chips.

“We really want to make sure these chips aren’t simply a second thought,” Brian says. “They should be a feature item with whatever you’re eating.”

This year, the brand is evolving and will become The Chip Company St. Louis. While the company will still offer its various chips and seasonings, tortilla chips are also in the works along with packaged dip mixes the owners are creating with McCarthy Spice & Blends Co. in St. Louis. Anything new that the company begins to make will be held to the same standards as its beloved chips—simple ingredients and nothing artificial. Learn more at BillyGoatSTL.com.