Welcome to The Vreeland Store

An interesting look at its past and present

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  • Photos by Ginny Raue Porch seating area and the "cigar store Indian".

  • Step right up and place your order. Fran Lanza mans the counter at The Vreeland Store. The newly opened café, bar and inn on Macopin Road in West Milford combines the past with the present for a pleasing and interesting decor.

  • The café tables were crafted from old crates found in the barn on the Vreeland property. This one appears to have been sent to a Vreeland in Charlottsberg (West Milford, NJ).

The Vreeland Store
1383 Macopin Road, West Milford
Café hours: Tues. through Sat. 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed on Monday
(Grill closes at 5 p.m. after which beverages and pastries are served)
Bar hours: Thurs. 12 to 11 p.m., Tapas 6 to 9:30 p.m.
Fri. and Sat., 12 p.m. to close, Tapas served 6 to 10 p.m.

— Should you decide to stop in The Vreeland Store on Macopin Road, the newest café in West Milford, take a moment to absorb the historic surroundings. It may interest you to know you are now on land that was sold to the Vreeland family by Native Americans in the 1600s. A copy of the original deed is now in the possession of the current proprietors, Vincent, Fran, Charissa and Vanessa Lanza.

The building itself, a designated historic site, was erected sometime prior to 1861. According to the West Milford Preservation Commission structure survey, it is of Victorian style with subsequent additions, constructed of wood clapboard on a fieldstone foundation.

The original section of the house is on the left side, the store portion, on the right, has a full front porch with full width stairs and scrolled brackets.

Continually held by the Vreeland family until around 1995, the structure served many purposes including a general store, a post office and an insurance agency. It was occupied by C.W. Vreeland and then his daughter, Relda, from 1870 until 1978 when Relda died at 103 years of age, leaving behind a significant piece of West Milford history.

A new beginning
Being residents of West Milford since 1987, the Lanzas were familiar with the iconic structure. According to Charissa Lanza, 27, who spoke for the family, her father learned that an offer had been made on the building with the intent of razing it. He made a counter-offer, fully intending to keep it intact. He closed on the property in 2003 and spent many years getting it to the point it is now at. In the meantime, his daughters grew up and it was decided this would be a family venture and work began in earnest.

“When my father bought it, he started some work. He replaced windows, repainted the building, put in a new septic and all new bathrooms,” she said.

While such necessities as new plumbing and a commercial kitchen were installed, an effort was made to keep some of the original amenities. There’s a combination of old and new, flooring, walls and lighting, for instance, and many antiques have been repurposed.

Described as a café, bar and inn, the décor is mostly period, adhering to the style of the structure.

“We built the café tables using delivery boxes we found in the barn,” said Lanza of the turn of the century crates with the original labels sealed under Epoxy.

A rarity in West Milford, The Vreeland Store has two suites available for nightly rental.

“They are double rooms, each with a sitting room with a flat screen TV and fold out couch. There’s a queen size bed in the bedroom and a private bath, all furnished in antiques,” Lanza said.

A diverse business

The business officially opened in June and the Lanza women, who run the operation, decided to proceed slowly, to get their feet on the ground. Business has been steadily moving forward with a good response from the community.

There’s a variety of seating options in and around the café, a well-appointed bar and, on the second floor, a small meeting/party room. Interesting antiques are scattered throughout the building and there is outdoor seating on the old front porch, complete with a “cigar store Indian.”

The café serves breakfast all day, running the gamut from bacon and eggs and Italian and Mediterranean dishes to French toast made with cranberry walnut bread. House-made sausage, smoked salmon and fresh roasted turkey and ham can be added to the breakfast plates.

There’s a Lite Fare menu which includes a quiche and a soup of the day as well as a good size lunch menu including Prosciutto Panini, roasted veggie sandwich and an Asian tuna wrap.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, a Tapas (small plate) menu is served at the bar; wings, egg rolls, vegetable stir-fry, sliders and more are available as well as one large plate dinner and daily specials.

Fresh roasted house blend coffee is served and there’s the popular pastry case with scones, croissants, muffins and macaroons and more to satisfy a sweet tooth.

The Lanzas are working hard to make The Vreeland Store a success - and it shows.

This old house and store, at one time set on a dirt road, has been transformed into a going concern once again. There’s a mix of old and new and a respectful remembrance of the Vreelands.

If Relda Vreeland’s spirit could speak, it’s a good bet that one of her first remarks might be, “What’s a Tapas?”

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Read the river before you launch
  • Apr 19, 2018


West Milford, NJ