Triple XXX Family Restaurant ca.1960
Our Proud History.
Whoever coined the phrase "the more things change, the more they stay the same" must have had Triple XXX in mind.
Opened in 1929 by Bert Wright, the 24-hour restaurant on the Levee near Purdue University has continued to serve hamburgers, root beer, and shakes to West Lafayette residents even as chain businesses come in, compete, and then close down for a variety of reasons. It holds the distinction of being the first and oldest Drive-in Restaurant in Indiana.
So what is the secret of Triple XXX's longevity? Current owner, Greg Ehresman, has his answer: "It's consistent throughout (our history)."
Unlike some other fast-food restaurants, which serve pre-packaged, reheated sandwiches with artificial ingredients, Mr. Ehresman stresses that Triple XXX, which he co-owns with his wife Carrie, has a more personal touch. It uses only 100 percent unfrozen sirloin, ground on site and grilled with real cheese.
Nowhere a cheeseburger tastes the way it does here, period," he says. "The first thing you want to do is get it right." Triple XXX's hands-on approach extends even to the sirloin, pouring drinks, or doing anything that needs to be done, including repairing most of the equipment.
Even Mr. Ehresman's father Jack, from whom he and his wife bought the restaurant in 1980, still comes in to cut meat every morning.
Time-honored Tradition. Throughout its history, the Triple XXX Family Restaurant has gone through a number of owners, including Tom Comingore, Norm Karner, and an investor group including Russell Tarter. Jack Ehresman (Greg's father) has been eating at the restaurant "since I was knee-high to (a) rail chair," he says. He was working as a dishwasher there at age 14, and by 17 was asking the owner "in a semi-serious way" if he'd be willing to sell it, he says. And there have been a few interior changes as well. In 1986-87, a second story was added along with a new roof, and seating has been increased. But Triple XXX's atmosphere stays the same, Mr. Ehresman emphasizes. In fact, Coca-Cola signs dating back 35 years are still displayed. "We can get new signs, but we like the old ones," he says.
Grinding 100% sirloin for our famous sirloin "chopped steak" sandwich. We're still doing it the same way today!
From left to right: Gerald "Barney" Sibray - the inspiration for the Barney Burger; Norm Karner - Owner, c. 1961