“You’re sitting at our table,” says co-owner Rickey Martinez as I sit down with him, his wife Amanda, and Recology Waste Zero Specialist, Misty McKinney. The restaurant’s walls are filled with miscellaneous bric-a-brac and colorful aliens, so it isn’t surprising that the table has blended in. I look down and notice the table is filled with their photos, tickets, and other memorabilia you might find in a scrap book.
“We had a guest, he makes these. So if you look here, this is me when I was a long-haired hippie. This is our wedding invitation. We did a destination wedding in Hawaii. Pictures from our lives. A letter from Senator Harry Reid, welcoming me to the PR field when I was doing that a few years ago. We’ve had a fun ride. Neither of us thought we’d be restaurateurs.”
Amanda and Rickey begin telling me the story of how they came to open the new Redwood City Squeeze In. In Rickey’s family, restaurants became the stage for love, dreams, and community. In the 1950s, Rickey’s grandmother opened a restaurant in Upland, California called The Super. His aunts and uncles worked at The Super before and after school, and eventually it was where his mother met his father.
My mother waited on my dad,” he says, “And my dad left her a penny as tip because he thought the service was lacking. They didn’t know from one another until years later when they ended up working together at another restaurant. She mentioned The Super, so my dad said, ‘Oh yeah, I ate there once. The service was lousy; I left the waitress a penny.’ And she responded, ‘That was me! I was the waitress! How could you do that?’ My parents owned a restaurant when I was growing up. I guess it was only a matter of time before I did.
The first Squeeze In began by flipping omelettes in Truckee, California in 1974. The namesake came from how guests would have to squeeze in to sit at a table, since the restaurant was only a little over ten feet wide. At the time, Rickey’s Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary would drive up from Reno to eat at the original Squeeze In restaurant in 1979. When Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary first started thinking about owning a restaurant, they didn’t want just any restaurant, they wanted to own the Squeeze In. Aunt Misty had the opportunity to meet the owners of the Squeeze In, whom she told, “I love your place. If you sell it to anybody, you have to sell it to me.”
In 2003, Rickey’s Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary went all in on their dream. They quit their jobs and purchased the Squeeze In. In 2005, Rickey went up to Tahoe for his cousin Shila’s wedding, and he helped out at the restaurant for the week. “Low and behold,” says Rickey, “Amanda was working there at the same time. We met and fell in love.”
Love was also in the air for foodies, and in 2010 the Food Network approached the Squeeze In to do a special on restaurants that love their guests. To their surprise, Bobby Flay rolled up in a blizzard to challenge them to a Throwdown. The menu, which dates back to the 1970s, features dozens of items that are named after Truckee locals and family members. The Food Network helped them pare it back a bit, and the menu gained the addition of a newly inspired omelette, the Spanish Flay.
The restaurant began growing and opening new locations in 2008. “People used to drive from miles and miles around, and fly in for vacation every year and have to go to the Squeeze In. So that got the ball rolling,” explains Rickey. Last year, the yoga studio a couple doors down approached them about opening a new location in Redwood City. The momentum grew; it was clear the community wanted their own Squeeze In.
Amanda and Rickey Martinez went a step further when they opened their Redwood City location this month. When Waste Zero Specialist, Misty McKinney, contacted them to assist in implementing a new garbage and recycling program, they decided to give composting a try. “We thought,” Rickey reflected, “we need to minimize the waste.”
“It’s good for the environment,” joined Amanda.
“And it’s good for business,” agreed Rickey. “There was a learning curve the first couple of days. It’s only been a week, and we’ve got a firm grasp on it. So obviously it’s good for us because we aren’t paying as much for trash, but the bigger picture is we are reducing our carbon footprint on the world. When we go to sleep at night, we can rest knowing that we did our part. I think that if every other business continues to do their part, it will help out in the long run. We won’t have to have all these landfills. As much as you want to give us the credit, Recology have given us the tools and the assistance needed to make it as smooth a transition as it needed to be.”
The Redwood City Squeeze In’s official opening is March 30th. There will be a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce at 2pm.
We’ve seen how the “eat local” movement has gained a lot of attention recently. Local farmers’ markets and family farms are plentiful in and around the Bay Area, yet many people may not understand what it means to eat locally, or why it’s even important.
Generally, local food is defined as food that has traveled less than 400 miles from producer to consumer. Less travel time means a significant reduction in transportation costs and environmental impact. Eating locally not only has a direct impact on reducing energy use and global climate change, but it supports local economies and has a positive impact on local communities.
A few interesting facts about food consumption in the United States:
Did you know…much of the food purchased in grocery stores today is often imported from other countries?
Did you know…the average American meal contains ingredients imported from five different countries?
Did you know…the transportation of our food translates to massive amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, a leading greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change?
Did you know…the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in California by airplane resulted in 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of 12,000 cars on the road?
Buying, fresh, healthy foods from local farmers, fisherman, and ranchers, helps support our local economy, reduces carbon emissions, and best of all – it tastes delicious! Below are some links to local resources that offer an abundance of fresh and natural foods. Bon Appétit!
Below are a few resources for San Mateo County residents and businesses to purachse locally grown food:
Recology San Mateo County (Recology) would like to congratulate this year’s BizSMART @ Work Award winners. Recology’s team thrives on working with the businesses and multi-family complexes to help them increase their diversion levels.
Recology works closely with customers by providing waste audits, cost savings analyses, internal recycling and compost containers, recycle buddy bags, posters, in addition to other outreach materials, and onsite trainings and presentations. With these tools, Recology’s Waste Zero Specialist can identify what technical assistance each customer needs to educate their staff and reduce waste going to the landfill.
Award categories include Recycle, Compost, and a combined Recycle and Compost. The winners for this year’s awards are as follows:
Diddams Party Store, San Carlos
Sand Cove Apartments, Foster City
300 Alpine Road LLC, West Bay Sanitary District
Bayshore Christian Ministries, East Palo Alto
Donato Enoteca, Redwood City
Milagros, Redwood City
Menlo Circus Club, Atherton
Oak Grove HOA/Manor, Menlo Park
Papillon Preschool, San Mateo
Promontory Point, Foster City
Recycling and Composting Category:
Abbott Vascular, Menlo Park
Back Yard Coffee Company, Redwood City
Catered Too, East Palo Alto
Embarcadero Capital Partners LLC, Belmont
Hassett Hardware, San Mateo
Impossible Foods, Inc., Redwood City
Kingston Café, San Mateo
The Plant Cafe, Burlingame
Rocket Fuel, Redwood City
Sweet Production, San Carlos
Villa Lucia’s Pizza, San Mateo County
The public also had a chance to select the 2014 Rethinker’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite nominees selected from the Recycle and Compost category winners through the RethinkWaste website. The winner of the 2014 Rethinkers’ Choice Award will be announced at the luncheon.
The nominees for the 2014 Rethinker’s Choice Award are:
Abbott Vascular, Redwood City
Back Yard Coffee Company, Redwood City
Embarcadero Capital Partners LLC, Belmont
Kingston Café, San Mateo
Sweet Production, San Carlos
Recology San Mateo County invites you to participate in our Earth Day Giveaway on Facebook. As we gear up for Earth Day on April 22nd, we’re asking San Mateo County residents and businesses to share their tips, photos, or videos that illustrate how they are “going green” this Earth Week.
How to enter:
- “Like” Recology San Mateo County on Facebook.
- Share a green tip, photo, or video on our Facebook page using the hash tag #EarthDay2014 by 10 am on Tuesday, April 22nd to be eligible for the giveaway.
- Share your entry with friends!
Winners will receive a $50 Whole Foods gift card and earth-friendly goodies, including garden-ready herbs, compost, reusable water bottle and bag. Winners will be chosen by number of likes, shares, and Recology staff votes. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on April 22nd, Earth Day!
How will you celebrate Earth Day? #EarthDay2014
Terms and Conditions:
- Must be 18 years or older to participate, and be a resident or employee in San Mateo County. Recology employee-owners are not eligible to enter, however friends and family of employee-owners are encouraged to participate.
- By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any or all liability in connection with this giveaway. All entries then become the property of Recology Inc.
- The RSMC Earth Day Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
Recology San Mateo County is currently collecting donations for our annual Bare Necessities Toiletries Drive. Each year we partner with CORA of San Mateo County to collect toiletries for CORA’s housing and shelter programs. CORA is a local organization that helps support victims of domestic abuse. They are a great asset to our community, and we love to help support their programs.
To donate, please drop off your items at the Recology San Mateo County office by March 31:
Recology San Mateo
225 Shoreway Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
CORA is the only agency in San Mateo County with the sole purpose of serving victims/survivors of domestic violence/abuse. We are a multicultural agency committed to serving victims/survivors, regardless of age, ethnicity/race, financial status, language, sexual orientation, immigration status, class, religion, gender, mental or physical ability.
CORA provides free and confidential emergency, intervention and prevention services, including the county’s only emergency shelter and transitional housing for victims/survivors and services in Spanish and English.
Last years combined total donations:
6 packs of diapers
6 packs of toilet paper
6 hand gels/body moisturizers
1 bottle of contact lens solution
4 packs of dental floss
7 bottles of baby shampoo/baby lotion
2 nursing care kits
18 bars of soap
17 Regular size packs of toothpaste
49 Travel size packs of toothpaste
20 bottles of shampoo/conditioner
3 quart size bags with misc soaps, conditioners, shampoos, and lotions
11 packs of baby wipes
56 bottles of mouth wash
24 bottles of oral rinse
4 Kleenex boxes
13 hair brush/combs
Happy Lunar New Year – Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Join Recology in celebrating Chinese New Year at the San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade.
When: February 15, 5:15 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Market and Second Street to Kearny and Jackson
For more information, visit www.chineseparade.com/route.asp
Recology Sunset Scavenger and Recology Golden Gate have been collecting recyclables and trash in San Francisco for well over 80 years. We’re excited to celebrate another year of service at the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade on Saturday, February 15th. Our Recology Drill Team and the Recology Dragon and Pearl will make an appearance at this years parade to welcome the Year of the Horse.
The Recology Dragon and Pearl, created by San Francisco artists Dana Albany and Flash Hopkins, is constructed out of 100% recycled materials. As a “tip-of-the-hat” to our history, the Recology Drill Team will be showing the crowd what they can do with a packing can. In the past, they carried these cans on their backs, house-to-house, up and down stairs, and into backyards collecting trash before carrying it back out to the street to dump into the truck. These folks have to be in shape, since each can weighs 40 pounds when empty!
Following the award-winning drill team, will be “Old Red,” an antique garbage truck built in 1948. While “Old Red” was state-of-the-art in the 1940s, today Recology’s entire fleet of modern collection vehicles are powered by clean, alternative fuels such as liquid natural gas and bio-diesel.
Last in line will be the “Green DeMartini,” an antique truck from 1954. This truck collected materials from the streets of San Francisco for over 30 years!
The Recology Family invites you to celebrate Lunar New Year with us! GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!
Parade route map:
Recology San Mateo County (RSMC) is starting their annual Coats for Kids collection program of new and gently used donated coats, from Monday, November 4th through Friday, November 8th.
Drivers from RSMC will collect coats that have been placed in a clear plastic bag and marked “Coats for Kids” at the curbs from residential homes on their collection day in:
· East Palo Alto
· Foster City
· Menlo Park
· North Fair Oaks
· Redwood City
· San Carlos
· San Mateo
· San Mateo County (county “pockets” serviced by Recology San Mateo County)
· West Bay Sanitary District
Collection containers labeled “Coats for Kids” will also be placed at various locations throughout participating cities from Monday, November 4th through Friday, November 15th. Please visit http://www.recologysanmateocounty.com/coats_for_kids.php for a list of drop off locations.
RSMC will deliver all of the donated coats to local non-profit agencies for distribution to those in need of a warm coat during the cold weather season.
Thanks for being part of this year’s Coats for Kids drive in San Mateo County!
Our Recology San Mateo County volunteers participated in the 29th Annual San Mateo Bayfront Clean Up. Volunteers picked up litter along the Bayfront Trail, San Mateo Creek, Marina Lagoon and Tidelines Park. Most of the materials found were cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bags, and plastic water bottles. There were also some very interesting finds in our bay… tires, shopping carts, chairs, and even toys!
“The clean up was a great bonding time with the family and a gratifying experience to be able to help in keeping the environment clean.”
- Sheila, Recology San Mateo County employee-owner
Students of teachers Sandra Sperow and Dawn Tesarowski from Audubon School in Foster City were awarded first place. The fifth grade class was rewarded with $500 by RethinkWaste for their “The U.S.A. Just Got Recycled Map”.
Second place went to Shelly Jones’ fourth grade students at Fiesta Gardens International School for “Young Shadows: Homage to Louise Nevelson”.
Third place went to Kathie Strafaci’s sixth grade class at St. Charles School in San Carols for “Tiger,” a representation of their school mascot.
Winners will receive their awards on Saturday, April 20th from 10AM-2PM at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos.
For more information, visit www.rethinkwaste.org.