1999 photo courtesy of XXX Drive-In
July 1999 photo by David Bangs of Owner José Enciso next to a vintage soda dispensing barrel that was used at the original XXX Drive-In in Renton. The barrel had one spigot for plain soda, and separate spigots to add the Coca-Cola or Root Beer flavored syrups.
2013 Jose serving car show participant
The first drive-in restaurant in the Pacific Northwest was established in 1930 in Renton by A.H. Rutherford. The combination of Triple XXX Root Beer and food turned out to be a great idea which spread nationwide. Of all the XXXs that ever graced our country's landscape, Issaquah's is the only one left which sports the traditional barrel. Another Triple XXX still thrives in Lafayette, Indiana.
Issaquah's original XXX Restaurant was located on Sunset Way near the location of Flintoft's Funeral Home. That restaurant, which was known by locals as "The Barrel", operated until the 1950's when the location was needed for a car dealer's parking lot. Today's XXX Root Beer Drive-In opened in 1968 at its current location.
The restaurant serves up 1950's style hamburgers and dairy concoctions in large serving sizes, and is proud to host frequent gatherings of vintage automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts.
Now a family-owned business, the restaurant was purchased in March 1999 by
Jose Enciso and his wife. Originally from Mexico, Jose has worked in restaurants since he was
a young teenager. He takes special pride in owning and improving such a
visible Issaquah landmark and says, "XXX may not be the oldest historic
building in Issaquah, but it's probably the one which is most visited and
Photo circa 1950, courtesy of Olga Goben
I Linda Goben and her doll are pictured in front of the Issaquah's original XXX Restaurant, which was constructed in the 30s or 40s on East Mill Street (now Sunset Way) near Flintoft's Funeral Home. When the restaurant closed in the 50s, this building was moved to Maple Valley.
All About the Triple XXX
In 1930 a local Archie Rutherford opened the first Triple XXX Root Beer
restaurant in nearby Renton. Along with his sons Joel and Jerry,
Archie traded on his initial success by opening a chain of restaurants
throughout the Pacific Northwest during the late 1930's and early 40's.
During this period, Dave Morgan opened Issaquah's first Triple XXX on East
Mill Street (now Sunset Way). The Triple XXX was closed during World War
II, but reopened in 1945.
During the late 1950s business declined and Ted Stonebridge, owner of
Stonebridge Chevrolet, bought the Triple XXX and demolished it to build a
Footnote: One other XXX restaurant is known to exists in Lafayette, IN. This restaurant shares a common history with Issaquah's, but no longer is affiliated in any way.
Portions of the foregoing were originally written by David Miller & Sue Cameron and appeared in Issaquah's Past Times Autumn 2004 with Erica Maniez, Issaquah Historical Society Museum Director