If you like omelets that will last you until dinner and cocktail garnishes that eat more like a meal, the Squeeze In is your new favorite spot.
The breakfast and lunch place on the corner of Floyd and Roselle avenues in northeast Modesto opened on Friday to a full house. The restaurant is part of a small, largely family run franchise that started in Truckee in 1974. It has grown to eight locations in California and Nevada with more on the way.
The Squeeze In is not to be confused with the Sacramento-based Squeeze Inn, now known as Squeeze Burger, which specializes in burgers with melted cheese skirts. The new Village One eatery, in the site of former Starbucks and Plantation Coffee shops, is known for its eclectic decor, extensive menu and enthusiastic fans.
The Modesto Squeeze In is owned by Modesto attorney and first-time restauranteur Kathy Monday. The partner in her Modesto law firm said she was looking for a change of pace (she’s still practicing law part time, just now also slinging eggs on the side) when she walked into the original Truckee Squeeze In about a year ago.
“I thought ‘how awesome is this.’ It was the atmosphere and the culture of what they’re trying to do,” Monday said. “It may sound woo-woo, but it’s about people and spreading love and being nice.”
The name comes from the restaurant’s cozy dimensions. The Modesto spot, which was completely remodeled and had a full kitchen added, is about 1,600 square feet and seats about 65 combined inside and outside on the patio. All Squeeze Ins share a colorful palette with walls that fade from orange to yellow like the sunset. The interior is dotted with little green aliens, one of the franchise’s signatures, and overhead hang peace sign-themed, hand-painted ceiling tiles — a favorite of Monday who calls herself “kind of hippie-ish; I was born in the ’60s.”
Customers are encouraged to write on the walls and leave little messages with Sharpies after their meals. Though they may need a highlighter to get through the extensive menu. The Squeeze In is famous for its close to 30 different four-egg omelets, which have garnered a devoted following. Members of its fan club call themselves the Eggheads.
One of the most popular picks is the Racy Tracy (a bacon, mushroom and Monterey jack cheese omelet topped with avocado) that was featured on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” For a more adventurous omelet try the Zweifel (peanut butter, apple, banana and honey) or Hawaiian Aikane (ham, pineapple, jalapeno, cream cheese and honey). Or, if you feel like going all out, try the Holy Crab, an extravagant hand-shelled King crab omelet that sells for $24.99.
The lunch fare includes burgers, burritos and triple-decker sandwiches. The food is both fresh and bountiful, so expect to bring home a box. Like any good brunch spot, the Squeeze In also offers an array of adult beverages. Several kinds of champagne mimosas are available and the restaurant can also serve screwdrivers and Bloody Marys with its beer-and-wine license because it uses rice-based vodka.
And speaking of that Bloody Mary, the Squeeze In has added a new one called the Hail Mary for reasons that should become abundantly clear once it arrives at your table. The one-liter behemoth comes with a celery stalk, olive, lemon wedge, pepperoncinis, several strips of bacon and half a grilled-cheese sandwich sticking out of its top. It’ll set you back $14.99, but you probably won’t have to order much more afterward.
Monday has a staff of 13 including her 34-year-old son Jared who will be the restaurant’s general manager. The eatery is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving. So come hungry.
“We want this to be a happy place,” she said.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
There’s no more Firkin with the Fox.
Downtown Modesto’s former Firkin & Fox pub and restaurant on the corner of I and 11th streets is now just The Fox. The change over began at the end of May and includes a new sign outside featuring the spot’s signature fox logo.
The Fox manager Devry Thayer said the new name is because the restaurant has separated from its Canadian-based Firkin parent corporation. The pub will no longer be part of the franchise and instead is independently and locally operated by original owner Sharon LaPachet, who opened the eatery in 2008.
Thayer said they are in the process of rolling out a new, revamped menu and drink specials. But expect longtime favorites like fish and chips to stick around.