Route 11 Potato Chips to expand Shenandoah County facility … crunch on!

Route 11 Potato ChipsBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The unimposing yellow metal building that houses Route 11 Potato Chips sits in a rural office park in the Shenandoah Valley surrounded by the mountains of western Virginia. A picnic table out front invites visitors and employees to enjoy a mild day as the smell of baking potato chips fills the air. Appropriate for the historic area, it is  short mile or two to the well-known Meems Bottom covered bridge (see Meems Bottom Covered Bridge in the Shenandoah Valley).

Route 11 Potato Chips’ production facility is about to undergo a $1.2 million expansion at their location in Mt. Jackson, a move that that will double its capacity. The popular snack food that has seen its reputation spread far beyond the Shenandoah Valley will bring new jobs while increasing its raw product needs — potatoes and sweet potatoes — with local growers.

Unknown to many, Route 11 Potato Chips originated in Maryland, relocating to Middletown, Virginia, in 1992 where it took over an old feed store before moving into the current facility in 2008. Their reputation has been built around quality, kettle-cooked potato chips with unique flavors. In the expansion process they will install a second production line to meet increased demand for its potato chips, particularly increased orders of its sweet potato chips, from major grocery chains and wholesale distributors.

The expansion of Route 11 Potato Chips will add an addition 13 jobs to the current 32 employees. The facility is open to the public with viewing windows to watch production while workers process raw potatoes into crispy, tasty chips in many flavors including Lightly Salted — SWAC Daughter’s favorite — as well as Barbeque, Dill Pickle, Sour Cream N Chive, Salt N Vinegar, Chesapeake Crab, Mama Zuma’s Revenge, Sweet Potato, Yukon Gold, and Purple Sweet Potato Experiment.

We are able to find Route 11 chips locally as well as larger retailers such as Costco, Whole Foods, and Wegmans. Imagine our surprise and delight when we found Route 11 chips two years ago in Seaside, Florida, when we stopped at a food truck to buy lunch. It is now a regular stop every time we are there — food truck grilled cheese sandwiches with Route 11 chips from our Shenandoah Valley while sitting in the Florida sunshine people-watching along the sand and water of the Gulf of Mexico.

Word is Hillary Clinton loves them and is supplied with regular shipments from her good friend, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Route 11 Potato Chips does not allow photography of their chipping process so below are some photos from inside the small factory minus pics through the viewing windows of the production line. Stop by if you’re in the area … buy some discounted products … sit a spell.




Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
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