Along with ice cream, coffee, pizza, and bacon, potato chips are a food group that has gotten dramatically better in the last half century. Of course, you can still get crappy versions of them all (except maybe bacon), but the fact is that if you crave high quality, it’s readily available, in grocery stores and in more and more restaurants.
Long considered junk snack food, potato chips now come in all sorts of high-end variations; and it’s no longer all that unusual to find a restaurant that makes them to order. It is, however, unusual to find a place that is almost entirely devoted to making the best possible potato chips. That’s what Asheville’s Gourmet Chip Company is all about.
Using potatoes with just the right body and texture for thin-slicing and frying, this restaurant offers them in a wide array of variations, from simple and simply salted to such enticing combos as the Italiano (topped with pumate, pecorino, and basil), the southern BBQ (with 13-spice BBQ seasoning), and the Napa (lavender honey drizzle, creamy blue cheese). There are sweet potato chips (topped with chocolate) and plantain chips (topped with chocolate and caramel) and even chips topped with seaweed seasoning.
I tucked into a platter of Parisians, which are dotted with melty goat cheese, rosemary, thyme, and a luxurious drizzle of white truffle oil, as well as an Americana, which is chips draped with melted Gouda cheese, brown sugar smoked bacon, and black pepper. They’re both really good; one order is enough for two hearty appetites.
A better choice for a more well-rounded meal is one of the Chip Company’s pressed panini sandwiches, made on ciabatta bread. It comes with either regular chips or, for a $3 premium, one of the signature deluxe chips. The sandwich menu includes an Italiano, a Cuban, a Buffalo wing-flavored beef brisket sandwich, and truffle Parmesan turkey.
Bags of chips are available to take away, and the Gourmet Chip Company boasts mail order service, for which the menu is available here.