Triple XXX Family Restaurant: A West Lafayette Icon

Steakburgers made from 100% sirloin ground fresh daily…and root beer with old-fashioned flavor—served in a thick glass mug, of course. I’d heard about the Triple XXX Family Restaurant for the past few years and was anxious to eat there during our recent visit to Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana. The food, the root beer and the nostalgic ambiance of this counter-service-only diner take you to a time long past.

Triple XXX history

Triple XXX Root Beer has been around since 1895. It’s the oldest root beer in the United States At one time, over 100 Triple XXX Thirst Stations were spread across the United States and Canada. The West Lafayette location, opened in 1929, is the only official Triple XXX location remaining. In fact, current restaurant owners Greg and Carrie Ehresman now also own the Triple XXX Root Beer Corporation.

Triple XXX Family Restaurant then and now
Triple XXX Family Restaurant then and now. Photo on left compliments of Triple XXX Family Restaurant.

Long before Greg owned the Triple XXX Family Restaurant, however, he was a teenage employee. Can you imagine working somewhere as a teenager and then owning the whole company decades later? In fact, a generation before Greg took ownership, Greg’s dad owned the restaurant. It had been his lifelong dream to own the West Lafayette Triple XXX, having eaten there as a child, when burgers were a dime and a root beer was a nickel. His dream came true when he bought the restaurant in 1980.

Triple XXX owners Greg and Carrie Ehresman
Triple XXX owners, Greg and Carrie Ehresman

Today you can buy Triple XXX root beer through specialty stores and other mom-and-pop restaurants. However, you’ll get Triple XXX steakburgers only at the Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette.

The Triple XXX dining experience

During our visit, there was major construction going on in West Lafayette, including in front of Triple XXX. But the construction didn’t seem to have any effect on business. When we got there at 1 p.m., the restaurant was packed. We took a seat at the counter stools, where you sit shoulder-to-shoulder with your neighbor, a real throwback to the early- to mid-20th century.

Triple XXX Family Restaurant Interior

Carrie encouraged us to try the Duane Purvis All American. The Duane Purvis All American is a steakburger served with peanut butter and cheese. Peanut butter on a burger? It sounded strange to me, but I tried it—and liked it! (I ordered it without the cheese.) Duane Purvis, the person, was a fullback for the Purdue football team in the 1930s. He frequented the Triple XXX and was apparently a fan of peanut butter. Several of the menu items are named after former Purdue athletes.

Of course, I had to have a Triple XXX root beer to go with the burger. The secret to the old fashioned root beer taste? Natural ingredients. Greg and Carrie use only real cane sugar and real vanilla in the root beer. The same goes for the food they serve. “We don’t skimp,” Carried said. “We serve butter and eggs and cream…I’m not saying it’s diet food, but it’s real food.”

Triple XXX meal

Grinding the steakburgers

Greg and Carrie took us upstairs where they grind the sirloin and form the patties. They start with a whole sirloin roast, cut it into chunks, grind it, and then feed it into a Hollymatic patty forming machine. And voila! Out come perfectly formed steakburger discs, ready to flatten into patties and grill.

Hollymatic

If you dine at the Triple XXX Family Restaurant

The Triple XXX Family Restaurant, located at 2 N Salisbury in West Lafayette, is within walking distance of Purdue University. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday (closed on major holidays). They serve breakfast all day, but I would strongly suggest a steakburger! For further details or to check the menu, visit the Triple XXX website.

Accommodations:

We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Lafayette during our visit to Lafayette and West Lafayette.  Check room rates.

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Triple XXX Family Restaurant

Disclosures: Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette hosted our visit to the area. Our meal at Triple XXX Family Restaurant was complimentary. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book at hotel room through the “Check room rates” link above, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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4 thoughts on “Triple XXX Family Restaurant: A West Lafayette Icon

    • May 16, 2017 at 10:21 pm
      Permalink

      You know in which direction to head to answer that call!

      Reply
    • May 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm
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      You’re welcome! Definitely a place to keep in mind when you’re in the Lafayette, Indiana, area.

      Reply

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