TRUCKEE, Calif. — Former Squeeze In owner Jerry Bussell asked for Gary Young by name when hiring landscape work in Reno. Gary did good work planting trees, so each spring, Jerry handed him a business card, and tipped him in omelets — thank you for your work, enjoy breakfast for you and your family at the Squeeze In.
The Young family always looked forward to their breakfasts on the other side of the hill. They relished the good food and the undeniable charm of the restaurant.
Their elder daughter Shila clearly remembers signing her name on the wall when she was nine years old.
“It wasn’t just that we had breakfast in Truckee — we had an experience,” Shila said.
The vibe from “The Squeeze” always lasted from the car ride home until late at night back in Reno.
Many nights, Gary and his wife Misty said they lay in bed, unable to shake the “lovefest” feeling they had from the little Truckee hot spot.
“We wouldn’t say, ‘gee wouldn’t it be fun to own a restaurant or wouldn’t it be great to have a coffee shop’ — we said, ‘wouldn’t it be great to own the Squeeze In?’” Misty recalls. “We called it out by name.”
Years later, Misty ran into Jerry, and when he mentioned thinking of selling his restaurant of 26 years, Misty called Gary.
“Every fiber of my being was alive with the potential that we could buy The Squeeze,” Misty said.
She says “there was an absolute lack of hesitation” as the
Youngs cashed in their savings and retirement, borrowed from family and went against the UNR Small Business Development Center’s advice of “run, don’t walk” away from this small struggling restaurant.
“It was a twist of fate where the universe put everything together so we could buy The Squeeze,” Misty said. “It’s a little scary to leap, but when you have that kind of faith and confidence … I believe that when you leap, the net will appear.”
Misty came to The Squeeze, she said, “with new eyes” and was able to help a long-standing tradition keep running by organizing and systematizing behind the scenes.
She left her job at an advertising and public relations agency in Reno to run Squeeze In.
“My goal was ‘let’s shine up the ambience,’” she said. “But behind the scenes, behind the door, was where the changes happened.”
Misty’s experience in social media and marketing aided Squeeze In’s expansion to Reno and Sparks as well as the creation of the EggHead Breakfast Club.
“My mom is a smart cookie,” Shila said of her mother and now business partner. “She knew she’d have to learn it, not just work it, but learn it.”
Misty remembers the days before Squeeze In, before her son-in-law Chad proposed to Shila in the alley, before grandkids, before Reno and Truckee when she held up the line at the grocery store, a toe-headed baby on her hip and her cart of Top Ramen, Lucky Charms and eggs.
As a young family in Southern California, the Youngs were on food stamps and welfare. Misty recalls the whispers and snickers from others as she pulled out her WIC card to pay for groceries.
“I appreciate we had the opportunity to have the perspective of having been really poor and struggling,” Misty said. “The system was there to help us, and now we help people.”
Squeeze In — open for breakfast and lunch and serving the “Best Omelettes on the Plant” — gives to more than 300 causes per year to different organizations throughout the area and recognizes the importance of community contribution.
“Gratitude has played a big role in my and Gary’s life and at The Squeeze,” Misty said. “We’ve made it our business to not only be grateful but to express our gratitude.”
“From Rags to Restaurants” is the title of Misty Young’s book, due to be in published early this summer.
The book is another dream the spunky blonde woman has always had, and in it she tells “the story of going essentially from a life of poverty and hopelessness and despair to having a business succeed and developing from one struggling restaurant to four prosperous restaurants.”
Through her story and her words she hopes to give inspiration, hope and advice.
“We’ve been so blessed to do business in Truckee and to be in the historic downtown area,” Misty said. “We feel what an incredible opportunity and we hope our guests and the town of Truckee feel that the Squeeze In has done it right.”
“It was a twist of fate where the universe put everything together so we could buy The Squeeze.”