The Route 11 Potato Chip Factory is a great spot for kids and adults to learn about how the popular snack food is made. The factory is located just off of Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and is a great stop on the way to or from some of the popular diversions in the area such as Massanutten Resort, Bryce Ski Resort and Shenandoah Caverns.
The factory is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and offers self-guided “fry viewing” as well as delicious samples and friendly staff. The facility is clean and spacious with large windows looking into the factory at each stage of the chip making process which begins with whole peeled potatoes and ends with chips sealed in bags. You can view the slicing, frying and bagging areas on the first floor and the seasoning and sorting sections on the second floor.
The employees working were happy to give a friendly smile and wave from behind the large windows and the owner/founder of the company talked with us for about a half hour about the company’s history and current production.
Route 11 Potato Chips currently makes 8 varieties of chips – Lightly Salted, Salt and Vinegar, Sour Cream and Chive, Barbeque, Dill Pickle, Chesapeake Crab, Sweet Potato and a spicy habanero blend called Mama Zuma’s. A tasting station with samples of all flavors allows you to taste test all the varieties so you can “try before you buy”. Snack sized bags are for sale for $1.25 each, larger bags sell for $3.00. Unique to the factory is the opportunity to buy freshly made chips in all varieties in two sizes. Freshly packed bags are $5.50 for 12 ounces or $8.00 for 24 ounces.
The factory facility also sells drinks and a few other local products such as syrups and dry dip mixes. Large tins of chips, gift packs and logo t-shirts and gear are available as well. There is one indoor picnic table and one outdoor table to enjoy your snacks if you choose to eat them onsite. Restrooms and free parking are also available.
A visit to the potato chip factory is about a half hour endeavor. There are many things to see nearby to combine into a day or weekend trip to this part of the woods. Meems Bottom Covered Bridge, Maize Quest Corn Maze (seasonal) and access points to the Shenandoah River are all nearby. We enjoyed getting a glimpse into the process of making one of our favorite snack foods. We will definitely enjoy the edible souvenirs that we brought home with us even more!
Know Before You Go
- The factory is closed on major holidays.
- There is no elevator access to the second floor viewing windows.
- No baby changing facilities are available.
- If you want to see the cooking process, be sure to call ahead to make sure they will be in production on the day of your visit.
Photo by Kim Engstrom.