Main squeeze

Nubia Murillo, owner of Cap City Squeeze

photo by evan duran

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When Nubia Murillo first had the idea to open Cap City Squeeze, there were hardly any other juice bars in downtown Sacramento. That's no longer the case, obviously, but Murillo isn't worried by the competition. Her spot, at a mere 220 square feet, is a place for people to stop in and grab a quick made-to-order juice blend made from fresh fruits and veggies. Even though Cap City Squeeze is about a year old, Murillo's not new to juicing. She's been an avid home-juicer for years, while she held down her previous 9-to-5 job. Now she juices full time, and will be celebrating her one-year anniversary on March 10, when she'll unveil several new juice recipes to customers. We spoke with her about her business, health and her secret guilty-pleasure food.

Everyone’s juicing—what’s your style?

We use a masticating juicer for our leafy greens. It's a slow juicer. It crushes it and takes all the juice out of it. And there's the centrifugal juicer. It has blades and it spins fast and it chops up carrots and celery, cucumbers, beets. There's another method we don't use, called press, which turns fruit or vegetable into a pulp. You stick it on a bag and then they press it. Then they jar it up. It's supposed to give it a shelf life for up to three days without losing any nutrients. It's the newer method of juicing—it's a trend. For me, my methods, I thought was a quick and easy way for customers to be able to customize their own juice. A lot of customers come in and they don't like a certain ingredient. With this centrifugal juicer, it's made to order, so customers are able to pick and choose what they like.

Why a juice bar?

I worked in marketing for a long time for Spanish TV. I always wanted my own business. When I got pregnant, I thought it was the perfect time to quit my job. It's been good so far. I juiced at home, but I never had time. It takes time to prep. I had to be at work at 8 a.m. I thought it would be a good idea to set up a little shop for people like myself on their way to work. It's a good location—close to the Capitol. We got a lot of state workers.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love pizza. It's my favorite, cold pizza preferably.

What’s the secret to making a good juice?

The secret is always adding a fruit. I think for every two or three vegetables, one fruit is good, because that's what's sweetens it. At the end of the day, yes, it's good for you. It should taste good as well.

What vegetable are people not getting enough of?

Kale. It's got a little bit of a bitter taste. People look at me like, “Kale, eww, no.” I blend my kale: for example the Green Destroyer, you actually can't taste the kale because of the pineapple and the fresh-squeezed orange juice, but you still get the benefits of having it.

Do you get any strange or unusual custom orders?

I do all the time. I try to give good advice 'cause I want it to taste good. I want them to walk out of here happy. Sometimes, if they're really avid juicers, they like to juice all the time, they want just vegetables and greens. I'll say, it's not going to taste as good as if you added an apple but I'm happy to make it for you, like maybe kale, spinach and maybe celery. That tastes like chlorophyll. But you know what, they usually walk away happy.

The space you’re working out of is tiny. How does that factor into your business?

People can see exactly what we're doing. I'm working with 220 square feet. It's really a stop 'n' go for people that work, and they're taking a break, walking around the Capitol, trying to get some exercise. A lot of people like to exercise around the Capitol. I have a sign out there that kind of lures them in this way.

Juicing is trendy. What sets your business apart?

I like the fact that I'm able to customize my juices. If there's a certain ingredient they don't like, they can change that, unlike other juice bars, they're not made to order. They're made maybe every other day. They're stored and they're cooled. They're just as good for you, but sometimes customers don't like celery and the juice comes with celery. I think that's what sets me apart. I like to be able to tell my customers, yes, we can change it for you. Yes, we can add that, and move things around for them and they walk out of here happy.

What do your kids think of your job? Do they drink juice?

I have a stepson that's 15-and-a-half. He's a teenager. At that age they think they know everything, but he's not really into juicing. I hate to say that. My little baby is, though. I bring him home juices all the time, especially when he's sick. I like to give him a nice dose of vitamin C. I'll bring him a Green Destroyer. It has spirulina in it. That usually helps him get through the hump. My teenager, not so much. He's more into really sugary drinks. I try to enforce it, but he's a picky eater. There's just certain things he doesn't eat. In the long run, when he gets older, I'm sure he'll grow into it.