Friday, June 6, 2014

Triple XXX: West Lafayette, IN

When you're driving along on the expressway and you come across a billboard with three "X"s on it, you might be thinking it's a place you'll want to avoid with the family. (You know what kind of signs I'm talking about!)

Fortunately if you're in central Indiana, Triple XXX has a different meaning. The Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette is a nostalgic drive in restaurant (with carhops in the warmer months) where the Triple XXX name refers to the high quality of the homemade root beer.

On the billboard I caught a glimpse of on my trip to Indianapolis, I also noticed that it said that the place was featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive ins and Dives." And hey, who am I to argue with the Guy? If he loves it, it is definitely worth trying out.

So, as I was heading back home, I took a little trip a few miles off of I-65 to see what this place was all about. The place dates back to 1929 and is the state's oldest drive in. While there's a pretty sizable menu, you're missing out if you pass up the burgers, which are called "chopped steak" burgers and made from ground sirloin that is ground fresh each day on site. The burgers are top quality and one bite will want to make you swear off the frozen patties that you get at most fast food joints. The owners, Greg and Carrie Ehresman, definitely care about quality and it shows.

I wasn't around in the 20's (or the 30's or 40's or 50's or 60's) so I can't tell you what the food tasted like back then, but they seem to do everything the way it was probably done back then - simple and pure. BBQ pork is made from scratch. Potato salad is home made. Shakes are hand dipped.

I sat inside for a quick bite since I was alone and thought how much my kids would enjoy dining there as there aren't booths and tables, but dozens of counter seats.



I got a simple burger and fries and could immediately taste the difference in the meat vs. what I'm usually served when we pick up a burger. It was good enough to get me to venture the 5 miles or so off I-65 the next time I'm headed that direction.

But it's not all about the burgers.

What initially intrigued me is that on a trip to Indy a month earlier, we'd been at Iaria's Italian Restaurant and one of my boys ordered a root beer. The waitress brought a bottle of Triple XXX Root Beer to the table. They loved it and I tried a sip. I commented to them that I would have to keep an eye out for it since we liked it so much.

So, when I saw the sign for the Triple XXX I thought, "I wonder if I can get some Triple XXX Root Beer there." Well, the answer was yes, of course. Not only could I get some with my meal, but they sell bottled root beer there, too. I got some to bring home for the kids. Triple XXX Root Beer actually dates way back to 1908 and it's still made with pure cane sugar and not that icky high fructose corn syrup.


I didn't have much time to linger, but happened to run into the owner outside and we chatted briefly about the place and the root beer. It turns out it is bottled right there in a building next door and distributed to quite a large area. I happen to see it last weekend at two different places while we in the New Buffalo, Michigan for Memorial Day.

Should you be traveling this summer along I-65, make it a point to stop off for a meal in this fun, nostalgic place for some outstanding food. Take it from Guy Fieri and from this Chicago Foodie Sister, you will be happy you did.

Triple XXX Family Restaurant
20 N. Salisbury
West Layfayette, IN
www.triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com
www.triplexxxrootbeer.com

1 comment:

  1. During the late 1930's early 40's my Mom worked as a carhop for Triple XXX on roller skates no less. Here is a link to another great place in Lafayette, Indiana across the street from a great park it is the ONLY real custard I've ever had ...... http://www.originalfrozencustard.com/index.html

    ReplyDelete