Despite the barrenness, Squeeze In co-owners Shila and Chad Morris have been hard at work preparing to unveil their newest restaurant location in Sparks, marking the fourth location of the mom-and-pop breakfast extraordinaires. With an atmosphere reflecting the name, the Squeeze In has become a local favorite for its food, service and identity.
“What you get with the Squeeze In is a lot more than just an omelette; you become part of the family,” Shila said. “When you walk in, you’re going to see a lot of eclectic, surfer and hippie artwork and you get to sign the wall and you become part of the family. When you leave a quote or draw a picture you are becoming a part of it and no longer just observing.”
Shila, a graduate of McQueen High School and the University of Nevada, Reno, remembers driving the 30 miles to Truckee, Calif. to have breakfast with her parents at the original Squeeze In. Dreams of owning the business were not enough for the family so they purchased the 14-table restaurant in 2004. Shila and Chad, who became co-owners with her parents in 2006, felt that “every neighborhood should have a Squeeze In” and they opened the second total location in northwest Reno in 2008.
“We felt really fortunate and humbled by having the community rally around a local business,” she said. “Signs were up maybe six months before we opened and people were looking in the windows and watching the progress and getting very excited.”
The opening of the first Reno location brought questions from community members to the Morris family about a possible second Reno location. Shila said the enthusiasm from the Sparks community was always present, but the demographics made the company hesitant on opening up in Sparks.
After springing for a location in south Reno in 2011, opening a Squeeze In in Sparks will become a reality on Friday as they open the doors for a soft opening. As part of a Squeeze In tradition, the soft opening profits will benefit a charity, this year’s being the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe, the Nevada Humane Society, Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows and Wylie Animal Rescue Fund.
“We (donate the profits) because it helps us work out those kinks we have during the soft opening. People are more forgiving because they realize this is a dry run and that we are giving the proceeds to charity,” Shila said. “It usually only takes us about a day to figure everything out and figure out the last few details we may not have discovered yet.”
The Sparks location will feature the usual decor, spacing and environment the Squeeze In has become known for in the 2,000-square-foot space, which Shila referred to as “a hallway with chairs, much like the original.” She said a family environment and community culture have become the ideas they stand behind most.
“There are no booths, no side rooms and no place for the employees to hide. We call it the stage, and every one is on the stage all the time,” Shila said. “I think what shocks people the most is the genuinely happy people that we have working. People have told me that the people are so happy they thought they were all owners.”
Racy Tracy, the most popular omelette according to Shila, was featured on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown on the Food Network in 2010. With endless omelette combinations, Shila said her favorite is the Holy Crab (King Crab, jack cheese, avocado and green onions) and the staff-voted favorite is a Hawaiian omelette filled with ham, pineapple, jalapeno, cream cheese and honey.
“We are excited to become part of the community, to make a positive impact, to employee 20 Sparks residents and create some jobs,” Shila said. “We love to give back and we love to be that hub where people can rally around and influence positive change.”
The Sparks location at 4670 Sparks Blvd. will be open for business on Friday with the soft opening and the grand opening will be Saturday. Regular business hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.