The Billy Goat Chip Company keeps Chipping away

The Billy Goat Chip Company keeps Chipping away
February 09, 2010
Billy Goat Chips were first given out with meals at the Billy Goat Restaurant and Bar, 1449 Vandenventer Ave., where they were more popular than anything else on the menu.

"People wanted them to take to the parks, to tailgate, to have at holidays,"said Theresa Rein, who was a server at the restaurant.

"We started making the chips for special orders and for take-home uses."

Demand was so heavy that co-owners Brian Roth and Rob Lyons closed the restaurant in December 2008 and started the potato chip company.

As it was, the company was profitable from the first day, Rein said.

The thin-sliced snacks are manufactured at 4993 Loughborough Ave. in the Princeton Heights neighborhood.

"It's hands on. The potato is touched when it's sliced,"Rein said, describing how the chips are made.

To start, potatoes are run through a slicer. Raw chips that come out the other end go into water to prevent slices from sticking together. The water is then drained and slices are dumped into a fryer for six minutes.

Tim Fehrman, who cooks the chips, can't just walk away until the frying's done. He keeps stirring and watching for irregularities.

When the frying's done, chips are pulled from the fryer and dusted with a secret seasoning.

About 400 pounds of potatoes are used for each days' output of about 140 pounds of chips.

The last step before the chips head for stores is placing them in bags with the distinctive logo featuring a bucking goat and the name "Billy Goat Chip Co."

Rein won't disclose sales figures for the product, but he acknowledged growth has been rapid. The company expects to move to a bigger production facility. There are plans to sell a St. Louis-style barbecue chip.

"The chip sells itself,"Rein said.