Squeeze Inn: Unique Sacramento Burgers and a Sense of Humor

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Restaurant Sacramento

Squeeze Inn is a tiny peach colored restaurant known for burgers with big flavor.

Ever since I learned about this 30-year-old Sacramento burger shack on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” I’ve craved the Squeeze Inn‘s unique burger. Driving to San Francisco, I took a longer route to sample one.

Until recently, the majority of my Sac-Town education came from watching “Eight Is Enough” reruns. From a water tower, I learned that Sacramento calls itself the “City of Trees.”

I arrived during the lunch rush. Squeeze Inn earned its name honestly, so I had to wait in line to order. The young counterwomen took my order quickly, so I got my hopes up. Unfortunately, I learned that order time and the time it takes to receive a burger are very different at Squeeze Inn. It took an hour before I took my first bite. For my wait, I got lucky and scored one of the dozen counter seats, which offered a great view of grilling action. There are also patio tables out back, but it was 95 degrees out and humid, so I had no interest.

While I waited for my burger, I perused the room. Owner Travis Hausauer, who’s owned the Squeeze for over six years, clearly has a sense of humor.

Restaurant Sacramento

On the walk inside, I spotted this “Rear View of Mt. Rushmore.” Looks like Honest Abe’s eaten a few too many Squeezeburgers.

Cockroach Sacramento

A three-foot-tall cockroach and spatula dangled over the grill. I hope the health inspector would find that as funny as I did.

On a shelf at the other end of the counter, I spotted a box of Spotted Owl Helper. For all sorts of reasons, this is no place for vegetarians, or for PETA members.

I also saw a sign on the wall saying “Your Meal Is Free If Escorted By Parents Over 100 Years Old.” I can’t imagine Travis dispenses many free meals.

I’ve seen antlers used as a hat rack, but never to hold a ski pole, a hockey stick, a lei or a miniature disco ball. I think we can officially say the wall-mounted deer died in vain.

Hamburger Sacramento

I ordered the Hamburger ($3.75), a quarter-pound beef patty placed on a bun lined with mustard, tomato, lettuce, pickles and onion. What makes the burger special is what Travis Hausauer does with the cheese.

Travis cooks four burgers at a time. After a patty builds up a nice sizzle, he grabs a big handful of shredded yellow cheddar and tosses it on top. The cheese spills over the sides. Travis crowns the mass with a bun, tosses on some ice to generate steam, and covers everything with big rectangular metal lid, which steams and grills the mass simultaneously. A couple minutes later, Travis lifted the lid and the cheddar had melted, spilling all around the beef patty and forming a crispy oozing pool. He then scrapes it off the grill and places it on the waiting bun with his spatula. The cheese becomes crispy around the edges, called the “skirt,” and gooey over the patty. The burger on its own would have been luscious, but with the unique cheese preparation, it became a delicious force of nature.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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