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Nonprofit Eagle Point eatery offers healthful meals, Christian atmosphere

EAGLE POINT — Ryan Garrett got a bargain when he bought a turkey pita sandwich and a soda for $2 at Eagle Point's newest restaurant, Main Squeeze.

Last week I drove to Burger King in White City, says the 17-year-old Eagle Point High senior.

But now he only has to walk three blocks for lunch and he still has plenty of time to make it back for sixth-period classes.

It's pretty good here and it's healthier, Ryan says.

Main Squeeze opened last month in a brick building at 115 Main St. in Eagle Point. It's run by EPA Center, formerly called Eagle Point Assembly of God Church.

We want kids to feel welcome and cared for, says Debbie Simpson, mom to the lunch crowd.

She whips up smoothies using fresh fruit and juice, pita sandwiches with sliced vegetables, espressos made with Mellelo's coffee, Italian sodas and 50-cent ice cream cones. She hopes to add fresh-baked bread to the menu.

I had a smoothie and it was really good, says Carla Furst, an Eagle Point High School freshman. They make everything from scratch.

Simpson uses the same ingredients at Main Squeeze that she uses at home for her husband, Scott, the pastor of the church, and their three children.

We don't scrimp on anything, says Simpson, as she chops tomatoes for pita sandwiches.

Nearly 100 kids on their lunch hour pack the remodeled shop. Posters of popular musicians are on the walls.

Contemporary Christian tunes play in the background and a motorized scooter — a youth group giveaway — hangs in the window.

High school can be a shark-feeding frenzy, says Simpson, whose church is known for bringing big-name Christian groups such as Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Petra to the Rogue Valley.

We want the Main Squeeze to offer a nurturing environment.

Main Squeeze is nonprofit and proceeds will be used to help EPA Center put up a new building, which the Simpsons hope to design for concerts, plays and a young, enthusiastic congregation. The church sold its 50-year-old sanctuary on Platte Avenue to the Eagle Point School District for use as an alternative school.

My hope is that kids have a place to come where they feel comfortable, a different atmosphere than their homes or school, says Shawna Boyd, the church's youth pastor. I hope this is a happy place for them.

Main Squeeze opens at 7 a.m. for folks who want to sip an espresso on their way to work or for early-morning walkers.

But when the lunch bell rings at Eagle Point High and the mad rush for lunch begins, church member Lisa Sparks will be ready to make sandwiches and smoothies. She donates time at Main Squeeze.

It's a fun thing to do, says Sparks, whose husband brought his construction crew for lunch last week.

Eagle Point doesn't really have anything like this. And my kids like the music they play here.

Alicia Hanson, right, serves up ice cream at the Main Squeeze Juice Bar in Eagle Point. On the receiving end are, from left, Nicole Canale, Jazmine Vaughn, Alissa Goslin and Virginia Gros. - Drew Fleming