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Squeezin’ into West Sacramento

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The original Squeeze Inn on Power Inn Road was made famous by Food Network’s Guy Fieri, who raved about their infamous cheese “skirt,” the restaurant’s twist on the classic cheeseburger.  Since then it has opened up restaurants in Roseville and Galt.

Tuesday morning, the Squeeze Inn’s fourth location – at 1350 Harbor Blvd. in West Sacramento – officially opened its doors at 10 a.m.

The newest addition to the Squeeze Inn line is the biggest location so far, seating up to 80 people, according to West Sacramento Squeeze Inn’s publicist, Heather Atherton.

The Squeeze Inn has been a regular on the burger scene in Sacramento for at least 30 years according to co-owner Dave Chambers.

“We’ve always wanted to own our own restaurant, and we love the Squeeze Inn brand. It’s not fast food, and it’s so unique of a brand that it has this crave-ability factor, especially with the cheese skirt. There’s a strong following and we thought it was a great opportunity to start and own something we all loved,” Chambers said.

When Chambers says “we,” he is referring to his longtime friends and partners – Joe Mousley and Eric Ostberg.

The group also has a fourth silent investor who was the one that linked them with the original owner, Travis Hauser, to get the ball rolling on the project. The group were regulars at the Power Inn location, driving in from Roseville to get their Squeezeburgers with cheese skirt fixes.

Atherton mentioned that all three men had previous food industry experience.

“They’re all restaurant industry veterans, some from fast food and some from food services,” Atherton said. “So, there’s a really great depth of understanding of how to deliver great customer service and a really high-quality product.”

Chambers said they had looked at a number of potential locations in Natomas, Vacaville, Davis and Auburn. In the end, West Sacramento proved to be prime location as it was far enough out from the other locations, but close enough in proximity to draw from the original fan base. Chambers also said that it was a truly business-friendly environment.

Atherton seconded Chambers’ comments by saying how welcoming local officials had been.

“We had two soft openings last week to prepare everyone for Tuesday. Friday’s soft opening included a luncheon with the mayor, Christopher Cabaldon, and other officials as a thank-you before their Cap-to-Cap event, which conflicted with the grand opening. We wanted to give them an opportunity to experience the food for all their support,” said Atherton.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon during Friday’s luncheon.
Both Atherton and Chambers said the soft openings last weekend had been very busy. Chambers said about 200 people came through on Friday and 500 on Saturday. He expected about 600 to 1,000 at the actual opening.

“There hasn’t been too much real marketing for the event,” Chambers said. “Most of the buzz was created by fans by word-of-mouth. The city and customers have expressed a lot of excitement about it.”

Though the doors wouldn’t open to the public till 10 a.m., the grand opening had an early start as Good Day Sacramento’s Mark S. Allen and Don Geronimo were there at around 6 a.m. helping to further generate noise about the new location with their chatter and antics, including a burger-eating contest with Allen against customers. To watch the contest, check out their website.

Mark S. Allen of Good Day Sacramento challenging a customer in a burger eating contest.
By 11 a.m., the restaurant was fully packed and the line was out the door and wrapped around the corner.

Customers waiting in line to order.
Nina Galvan works as a yard supervisor at Stonegate Elementary School and lives near the new location. It was her first time eating at any Squeeze Inn.

“My co-worker was raving about this place for months, and I had been wanting to go, but the other locations are a bit far from here,” said Galvan. “So when I heard about this location opening a few months ago, I was pretty excited to finally be able to try it.”

Galvan brought along her friend, Velina Gonzalez, who works for the city as a site leader for an after-school program.

“I’ve had a burger at the Power Inn location before, but that was years ago,” Gonzalez said. “It was pretty good from what I remember, so I’m glad this place opened up. It’s much closer.”

Both women planned on ordering the classic “Squeeze with Cheese,” with Galvan modifying hers with the addition of some avocado.

Jeff Garrick also came to the opening Tuesday. He’s a forklift driver at Tony’s Fine Foods and a West Sacramento resident.

“I used to work night shifts over at Crystal Milk near the Power Inn location, and my wife, Melissa, would always have me pick up a ‘Squeeze with Cheese’ on the way home ever since we saw them featured on the Food Network show (“Diners Drive-Ins or Dives”).”

The West Sacramento location will feature the same menu and hours as the others. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with all locations closed on Sundays.

For more information, visit the site or call the West Sacramento location at 371-6779.

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