Most people think of fries as the perfect side to a nice juicy burger. One Columbus burger truck begs to differ. OH! Burger started serving their crispy fried chips to accompany the gourmet burgers coming from the mobile enterprise, and now the side dish has taken on a life of it’s own with OH! Chips.
“It started with the food truck,” says Owner Brian Thornton, “We wanted to do something other than fries off the truck.” There was both a desire for uniqueness and a certain practicality behind choosing chips. Food trucks are confined spaces and busy season is those warm summer months – not the ideal time to have a hot fryer of bubbling oil on board.
“We wanted something that we can prepare ahead of time,” Thornton says. And traditional kettle or potato chips weren’t enough. “We started selling out of our truck with just the sweet potato chips,” he adds.
OH! Chips found their first fryer at the Food Fort. However, production was expanding beyond practicality when it came to a shared space.
“It got to the point where we had to start saying no because we didn’t have any capacity left on the fryer,” Thornton says.
So he found a donut fryer on Craig’s List and moved the operation to a new production space in Franklinton, tucked behind Tommy’s Diner on Broad Street.
“We’re increasing our capacity about four times what we used to produce,” Thornton says. “We’re also in our own space so we can spend more time doing it.”
OH! Chips has grown from sweets to kettles and other custom chips flavors, supplying the crisps for a number of other bars and restaurants across Columbus. It was actually another food truck owner that prompted Thornton to give the traditional spud a try. Laura Lee of Ajumama was after a more conventional kettle so he began supplying her truck and things grew from there.
While most trucks are on hiatus for the winter, OH! Chips supplies Ajumama, Blu Olive and Kenny’s Meat Wagon. Even though trucks are hibernating for the winter, there are plenty of other places to find the chips including Bleu & Fig Catering, Strongwater and the Ohio Taproom. A big hit with breweries, a cold beer washes down the chips at North High, Four String, Land Grant and Catawba Island Breweries.
In addition to sweet potato and kettle, the chip makers come up with some unique flavors for their partners. OH! Chips supplies Ajumama with a Koren BBQ, Blu Olive with a tomato Basil and North High with a beer chip, flavored from the brewery’s spent grains.
One of OH! Chip’s most unique and prominent partnerships is with Ohio State. The chips can be found at various concessions throughout Ohio Stadium and the Schottenstein Center.
And now with a bigger space and increased capacity, “There’s a whole plethora of people that we need to talk with that have expressed interest in chips,” Thornton says.
The operation had been a bit on the down-low until they could increase production, but now Thornton says they are ready to hit the ground running. They didn’t want to be the type of business that sold a product they didn’t have. He wanted to focus on production first, then start selling.
With the new year comes some exciting updates as well. A new bag design will be released in early January and a new variety of chip may not be far behind. Thornton says they have started to dabble in tortilla chips.
“Hopefully that’s something you’ll see within the next couple of months,”
For more information, visit facebook.com/OHChips.