A Sams Valley landmark is changing hands, but the apple isn’t falling very far from the tree. In this case, the Triple Tree Restaurant and Bar are changing hands, but still remaining in the family. Some 20 years ago, Wanda Chase took over the facility and operated it through good times and bad. Wanda kept the doors open and kept her crew working, when she had to go without a paycheck.
Another event happened shortly after that. A waitress couldn’t make it to work for a personal reason so Wanda called her daughter Dee to fill in on that shift. So Dee worked that day, then the next, then the next and has left only for short periods of time between then and now. When she first came there, Dee said emphatically “I will work, but I’m not staying.” Hmmm.
As of the first of 2013, Dee, along with husband Monte Martin, became the new owners of the establishment. As resources become available, the Martins have plans for improvements. One change will affect the outside look of the building. They are currently milling lumber and will re-side the building with a board and batten look, similar to a western style look from the old days. Inside, the Martins plan is to brighten the building, especially the bar that had become quite dark from years of cigarette smoke.
While a bright and cheery place is appealing, the Martins know that the success of the place will depend on serving food and drink that satisfy customers. Currently they serve Elk burgers (in season) which they go to great lengths to obtain. They also serve frog legs—once a year—during the frog jumping contest. Fresh ground burgers are also on the menu, and Monte tells us that the meat in those burgers has never been frozen, which adds to the flavors of the meat.
On the menu are breakfast, lunch and dinner items. More than one dozen different omelettes and a hungry man’s breakfast consisting of 3 eggs, 3 slices of bacon, 2 sausage links, served with either hash browns or home fries and two slices of toast or a biscuit can fill the largest of appetites. No restaurant can pass itself off as good food without biscuits and gravy, and, yes, that’s on the menu, too. Fruits, pancakes, even pigs in a blanket are on the well designed menu as are a variety of hamburgers and salads for lunch or dinner.
Every Saturday evening is Prime Rib night at the Triple Tree, complete with all the trimmings. Specials daily round out the cuisine and bring in locals as well as travelers along the Highway 234 route.
The Martins hold several events each year, including the Frog Jumping contest and the Biker Burnout, just two of the biggies. Participants receive a variety of prizes and foster kids in Jackson and Josephine Counties receive funds raised from the events. The Freebirds Brotherhood motorcycle club brings bikes clad in older tires and literally burn off the back tire while anchored to a slab at the west end of the building. It’s all in fun and, of course, for a good cause. The title of that event is “Burn to Earn,” as the more rubber they burn, the more they earn for the kids.
At other times during the year, the Martins bring in an Elvis Impersonator; they hold events with talented comedians improvising and the biggie, the Johnny Cash impersonator.
The Triple Tree is a gathering place for the community in Sam’s Valley, and for good reason. They have long time employees, folks who come to work and end up staying for long periods. According to former owner, Wanda Chase, it’s like walking into “Cheers.”
They also maintain an active presence in the community, buying 4H animals at the county fair. This involvement, and other special interests, makes it a real family atmosphere, a place where “everybody knows your name.”