Possible hope on the horizon for Issaquah's beloved Triple XXX Drive-In

Heartfelt appreciation has been pouring out all throughout Thursday for Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in in Issaquah.

The landmark drive-in has been home to great burgers and great memories for decades, but it closed its doors suddenly Wednesday night. Now the community has been left hungry for answers about what could come next.

However, there still could be a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the restaurant.

"This is all customers," said Maricela Munoz, general manager for Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in. "They're bringing their memories. That's why it is a tradition for them to gather and look at their pictures when they were young. They bring their kids, they look at their picture."

The restaurant has become an iconic spot in Issaquah, just off the highway.

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"Our foods, their names - the Lowrider, that's the most popular burger," Munoz said. "Everything is named after a car part or car brand. We have '50 Impala, Woody, Chevelle. All that stuff is so unique."

Under a short notice this week, Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in shut down business. Its owner, Jose Enciso, sold the property – leaving the restaurant to serve its final meals on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

"We did not know until the last minute what was going to happen with the new buyers and him selling it," Munoz said. "Maybe he did not want us to break a lot of people's hearts, and he didn't want to see that."

Munoz has been the general manager at the drive-in for 20 years. She told FOX 13, this was a hard decision for Enciso.

"To let this go, to let a lot of people go – a lot of family, a lot of community," Munoz said. "The car show people, the community. The family, everything, it was hard for him. But it was time for him to retire."

Enciso ran the Issaquah drive-in for almost 28 years. He'll soon turn 80-years-old.

"How to tell the customers," Munoz said. "How? A lot of people, they don't understand until now."

All throughout Thursday morning and afternoon, loyal customers and fellow community members dropped by to express their sadness. But also, their gratitude.

For the first time in decades, the restaurant won't open at 11 a.m. for the lunch rush.

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"It feels different, because it's sad, and it's unbelievable," Munoz said.

Even as the restaurant sits in silence, these walls still speak to Munoz. Reminding her of the tradition Triple XXX provided for thousands of people.

"All the noises, all the tickets – all of that, sometimes, because we were so busy," Munoz said. "You know, we'd be busy at the car show. We'd hear all these noises. The food, we'd call it out, we'd yell it out from the kitchen. That's Triple XXX, all that noise. It makes you feel amazing."

The walls will soon be bare, but the staff say they'll never forget the customers who made this restaurant a place for family.

"We have faith," Munoz said. "We have faith because we all love Triple XXX. We all grew up here. Customers, their kids. Our memories belong to Triple XXX and Triple XXX will forever be in our hearts."

The business is going to take the next couple of weeks to pack everything up. As of now, nothing is for sale. All the mementos and retro fixtures will go to a storage facility, for now, which is a good sign. Everything that makes up Triple XXX is going on a shelf instead of out the door.

While Jose Enciso is retiring, he still owns the Triple XXX brand. So far, FOX 13 has heard his children may have an interest in re-opening the restaurant somewhere else.