One of the things I miss most about Northern California and Sacramento is the variety of great local eats. From local dives to Michelin-starred restaurants in wine country, I had no shortage of new places to try.
When I first moved to Sacramento, my previous co-workers always raved about this great burger place called The Squeeze Inn. I readily admit I will forego a burger and fries for good Mexican food any day so I never paid much attention. Fast forward a year and while watching my beloved Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, I caught a repeat of the episode where he visited this local institution. I finally got what everyone was raving about – the cheese skirt!
The infamous “Squeeze with Cheese” is their 1/3 pound Squeeze Burger with probably a pound of cheese, cooked into this crispy and addicting cheese skirt ($4.95 for the burger and $1.10 extra for the cheese). The trick to cooking this masterpiece is completely covering the burger in shredded cheese, throw on some ice chunks and then cover. The steam from the ice helps the cheese form their crispy brown edges that extend upwards of an inch out from the burger itself.
You can be a purist and get the Squeeze with Cheese as is with lettuce, tomato, red onions, mustard and mayo on a sesame seed bun, or be creative and try some additional toppings. My personal favorites include bacon and avocado, but they also have mushrooms, grilled onions and more.
The menu is fairly simple, but if you are not a fan of burgers, The Squeeze Inn offers other options like a grilled cheese, a BLT, steak sandwich, and a grilled turkey breast sandwich as well. The fries are good and considering I am not a french fry person, that is saying a lot! Two people can easily split a large order ($3.25)
While the American Heart Association probably gasps in horror every time someone consumes one of these burgers, it is definitely worth a try every once in a while, especially now that they have moved the original location and have a bit more parking.
The Squeeze Inn got its name from literally having to squeeze in to eat. The original location was smaller than some peoples’ living and dining rooms and featured a few barstools and some picnic benches and tables out back. Parking was non-existent and if you parked in any other business surrounding it — watch out! Those businesses have the tow companies on speed dial and you will not stand a chance against their less than 10 minute response time.
After a frivolous lawsuit was filed in 2008/2009 alleging The Squeeze Inn discriminated against handicapped people for not having adequate access, the owner made the disappointing decision to move and give up the original location that had become such a Sacramento icon. The lawsuit was dropped shortly thereafter (I want to note that this woman filed numerous lawsuits against other businesses in Sacramento at the same time), but the decision to move had been made.
I had already moved to Asia when this took place so I did not have the opportunity to visit one last time before they shut that one down. In speaking with other Squeeze Inn lovers, their last days of business in the old location brought 3+ hour waits as fans packed in to enjoy the old building one last time.
The new location is practically around the corner from the old place and is located in a new strip mall with virtually no other tenants right now. There is plenty of seating and they were not busy when we visited on a Tuesday afternoon around 4pm. I chatted with one of the employees for a bit about the new location and she lamented it was a little sad to see the old place shut down. To keep the old Squeeze Inn alive, they brought the old front of the restaurant and the original bar. The front of the old restaurant looks exactly like it did — including all the no parking signs! Now, instead of sitting there waiting to order, it’s a booth at the new restaurant — probably the most popular seats in the house next to the original bar.
In addition to the “new” location in Sacramento, The Squeeze Inn also has locations now in Galt and Roseville, California. If you are in a bit of a hurry, be sure to call ahead and place your order — will definitely cut down on your wait time during peak times!
Sacramento – Power Inn
5301 Power Inn Road 916-386-8599
545 Industrial Drive (209) 745-4313
106 N. Sunrise Ave (916) 783-2874