Sponsored by Miss Vickie’s®.
Barbecue restaurants claim to be all about the meat, but if the sides are lacking in quality or flavor, today’s selective diners will choose to eat elsewhere. Understanding the importance of a quality entree-side pairing, Miss Vickie’s challenged restaurant owners to find the perfect sandwich to pair with its farm-inspired chip flavors.
Billy Sims BBQ participated in the Miss Vickie’s challenge. Founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2004, this fast-casual brand is the result of a partnership between Jeff Jackson—a businessman from Kansas City, Kansas—and Billy Sims—the former Detroit Lions running back and winner of the 1978 Heisman Trophy. When Sims visited Jackson’s sports apparel store for an autograph signing, Jackson suggested that they should open a barbecue restaurant after seeing how much Sims enjoyed visiting and serving his fans. The chain opened its first restaurant in 2004 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began franchising in 2008. It now operates more than 50 locations in six Midwestern and Southwestern states.
Today, the meat experts at Billy Sims BBQ serve up nine kinds of meat that is smoked on-site daily. “We’re a bare bones barbecue restaurant,” Jackson says. “Our concept is backyard barbecue, and that means we have to have fresh beans, chips, and coleslaw. We serve genuinely fresh-made barbecue every day, and Miss Vickie’s complements our sides and our entrees.” Each location has an on-site smoker to cook everything from ribs to turkey, seasoned with the concepts special blend, for up to 14 hours.
Jackson—who’s loved the kettle chips from the beginning and sold them in the shops ever since—chose Miss Vickie’s for the brand’s big flavors and high standards. “We have multiple Miss Vickie’s flavors in our restaurants, and they have been a staple of our brand,” Jackson says. “It’s a great product of consistently high quality that does well with anything on our menu. The product is unique, and the packaging really stands out.”
For the challenge, Billy Sims BBQ worked with Miss Vickie’s Original Sea Salt Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. “The flavor of that chip is great, and I think it could pair with almost anything on our menu,” Jackson says. “I think it’s going to go best with The Heisman.” This sandwich features sliced bologna, a hot link, and the customer’s choice of chopped brisket or pulled pork, plus a pickle, peppers, onions, and barbecue sauce.
“The most exciting thing to me is how different people pair chips up with The Heisman sandwich,” Jackson says.
But the most valuable aspect of Billy Sims BBQ’s partnership with Miss Vickie’s is the savings the chips afford for the restaurant’s catering business. “You can have a boxed lunch for an office with a sandwich and chips for $5.99,” Jackson says. “It’s very affordable and very easy for us to make and pack for the consumer to get quickly.”
Looking to liven up the restaurant’s menu in the future, Jackson is excited to see what new products Miss Vickie’s has in store. “We’ve had such success with the staple line, but we’re going through a lot of menu changes. Our corporate store is testing a lot of new products, and we look to Miss Vickie’s future flavors to see what delicious pairings we can recommend next.”