Thursday, October 7, 2010

Road trip: Triple XXX - Lafayette

Headed north the other day, we got an opportunity to stop off in West Lafayette and try Triple XXX.  Considering my Mom grew up in Lafayette, I was thinking how weird it was I had never been there.  I spent quite a bit of time in Lafayette as a child at my Grandparents.  Anyway, we were on our way to Chicago, and as we hit Lafayette were starting to get hungry, so we quickly figured out the address and plugged it into the GPS.
It really isn’t too far off the freeway, and once you get close to it, it is easy to spot the bright orange stripes on the building.  We walked in at 11:30 on a Friday and found the place nearly full.  Its curvy counter-only seating flows all the way around the interior of the restaurant.  We found a couple of stools near the front, noticing that several of the college students eating were still partaking in the breakfast that is served all day.  It looked pretty good.  But I was there for a burger.  This place is known for their burgers, and in fact was just featured in a USA Today article about the best burgers in the country, and a few years back was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

They call their burgers “chop steaks” because they grind 100% sirloin for them and add nothing else.  Sounded good to me.  And it was.  I went with the “Barney Burger” which is a ¼ pound burger served with melted American cheese and grilled onions and a side of onion rings (described on the menu as “the real thing!)  This burger was outstanding. One of the best I have had.  Now, it isn’t the really thin crispy type that I tend to prefer, but a slightly thicker version.  But the meat is so tender, it is unbelievable.  And the cheese was properly melted across the meat with wonderfully cooked onions on top.  They were cooked enough to take some of the rawness away, but not so much that there wasn’t still a bit of crunch.   The onion rings were your basic onion rings, and yes, there was a real onion in there (as opposed to what, I am not sure), but I have my doubts as to whether they are making them in house.  They did taste good though and had a nice flavor in the crust.  I did make the mistake of not ordering the root beer (I totally spaced it) but that is where the name comes from (Triple XXX is the brand of root beer they serve).  Next time for sure.
Hubby decided to try the pork tenderloin, and while he said it wasn’t bad, desperately wished he had ordered a burger after he had tried mine.  Luckily for him, I am generous and shared a few bites with him so he knew what he was missing.  Guaranteed, next time we go (and we will), we will both be ordering a burger.  He also had the fries, which were fine, but again, not the reason you are coming to Triple XXX.
This is an example of a place that is really living up to all the hype in my opinion, at least as far as the burgers go.  I can’t wait to come up with an excuse to drive back up there and have another one. 
Triple XXX
State Road 26 West & Salisbury
West Lafayette, IN
765-743-5373

Triple XXX Restaurant on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

  1. This place sounds fab. Do they cook the burgers to order? (I'm well aware of the potential consequences of eating anything but a well-done burger, but some people will gladly take the risk of eating ground beef cooked more rare.) May have to force myself to pull off the road en route to Chicago some time. (It's just so hard when such great options await at the final destination.) My friend raves about Triple XXX shakes so that may push me over the edge.

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  2. I love the fact that they dust the burger with a little flour before frying. It results in a nice crust and adds tremendous flavor.

    When I was a student I live a block up Littleton from there. They're probably responsible for half the 30 pounds I gained in college!

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  3. Fabuloso- I don't think they did actually ask me how I wanted it cooked, but it was really tender and not overcooked. I am sure though that they would cook it to order if you wanted it less cooked. And this would certainly be the burger to try it with because the meat is so fresh.

    Donald, yeah, it probably wouldn't be a good place to be walking distance from me either. :) I can see those burgers being a bit addictive. I wanted to stop again on the way home from Chicago!

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  4. When I lived just down the road... (mid/late 90's) everyone loved the biscuits & gravy there. If you go on a Sunday morning... go early, they will run out by ~10-11am at the latest.

    The burgers are pretty good, but give the biscuits and gravy a try sometime too. ;)

    Great place for a college town... inexpensive and tasty.

    Side note to author (Erin?): Why do you never comment on the cost of a restaurant? I feel like part of the dining experience is the value. If a meal costs $100 but the food and service isn't as good as a meal that costs half that elsewhere, wouldn't you want people to know?

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  5. We used to run out of gravy but not anymore. B&G is available 24 hours a day. We have a special sausage blend prepared for us from our local butcher, Beutler Meat Processing.

    Greg and I appreciate all of the wonderful comments and business, thank you.

    Carrie Ehresman
    Owner

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  6. Your mom is from Lafayette and has never been to the Triple XXX? Travesty! As a good daughter, I think I know where you should be taking her next Mother's Day! (was Morris Bryant the old buffet in town of such renown?)

    If this was last Friday, that was the day they were listed as the best burger in Indiana by USA Today.

    Diners, Drive-ins and Dives has alrady been here, of course... and, you likely know about the Duane Purvis All-American, which comes with a smear of peanut butter (I believe Chumley's has copied this wonderful creation).

    You can buy the bottled rootbeer to take home, too!

    Okay, as a true Old Gold and Black Boilermaker, I guess it is obvious this place is special to me. Lafayette isn't like some of the other Big Ten cities (Madison and Ann Arbor are especially noteworthy) with great, traditional food places. You pretty much have Harry's Chocolate Shop and the Triple XXX. Really happy the restaurant has stayed in the family and continues to do well.

    And, I hope that the hoops trio of Smooge-JJ-Robbie bring home a title or at least a Final Four so that they name a menu item after them!

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  7. Mike H- thanks for your comment. I have been thinking about an easy way to discuss prices in reviews as a couple of people have mentioned it. Would you be happy with a scale like $=less than 10, $$ = less than $20 or something like that? But I am thinking about it.

    Carrie- wow, thanks for reading and responding to the comments.

    Indy Grub- maybe I misspoke. My Mom has been there, I just had not and I have spent a lot of time in Lafayette (when I was young, but not that side of town). Actually when we were on the road and saw the Lafayette exits, and quickly decided to stop, it was my parents I called to tell me the address and which exit to get off on. :)

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  8. @Carrie - Good to know! I haven't been there in awhile since I'm in Indy now, but I do stop by as often as I'm in town. :)

    @Erin - I guess a simple scale would work, although you seem to do a very thorough job overall, so my initial thought was: "I wish I knew how much a meal costs (per plate) on average, including food, beverage, tip, etc... then tell me how good the *value* was for that money."

    Triple XXX is a great example of a place that will only cost you ~5-10 per plate, but the food value is much better than the cost.

    I do understand there are an infinite number of ways you could score a restaurant, but I appreciate the consideration. ;)

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  9. Lafayette is the mid point when we meet up with our Chicago family. We gave XXX a try for one of these meetings. We were all a little underwhelmed. If you're in the mood for a quick burger, it's great. If your looking for a place to sit and enjoy a meal with family, I wouldn't recommend it. (Oh and the root beer was flat, not a fan).

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  10. @Katywren - no offense, but Triple XXX doesn't advertise itself as a family sit-down place either. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for crying out loud. ;)

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Thanks, Erin