RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The former Mandee on Park Avenue in Rutherford has finally shed its old look and reopened as an Italian cafe and marketplace.
Suprema comes to the borough from the owners of Michael's Salumeria , a popular Lyndhurst Italian speciality store, takeout and catering hub since 1976.
With the Rutherford location, owner Anthony Sciancalepore is hoping to recreate the magic of the original, but with the added bonus of giving people a comfortable place to relax and eat.
"It's something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Michael’s is a mom and pop store but we wanted it to be more. We always saw people eating in their car but there was nothing we could do," said Sciancalepore, 43, who grew up working at Michael's, which was started by his father. "As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we're starting a new chapter."
It took 18 months to renovate the site, which housed an armory before the Mandee shop. "The building has a lot of history. The exposed brick and ceiling work is all original. We even found an old dismantled shotgun in the wall," he said, adding the eatery seats 28-30 people and includes a marketplace. "People notice the extra details and we haven’t had one customer who hasn’t acknowledged what a good looking space this is."
Attention to detail is something Sciancalepore takes great pride in -- whether it's in the choosing of ingredients, menu items or staff.
"Everyone who works here is passionate, respectful and has a sense of pride in what they do. It's what makes the difference," he said, noting everyone makes it a point to stay on top of food trends.
To handle the daily operations at Suprema, he chose Andrew Murray from Michael’s, and Mauro Vinsentini, who grew up running his family's Italian specialty store in Lodi.
Murray, he said, helped bring Michael's into the 21st century. Vinsentini mirrors Sciancalepore's own background. "He sold his store and he’s been a fantastic addition. It's old and new worlds coming together. It’s a recipe for success."
The food at Suprema, just like Michael's, is prepared fresh daily, using only the best ingredients, organic, grass-fed, and in season. Fish and shrimp are always wild, never farm raised.
"You won’t find a better product. Our prepared foods are made fresh every single morning. Our mozzarella is made several times a day. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fulfilling meal in every sense," he said. "It's our responsibility as purveyors of fine food, to educate our customers. You’re going to be a nicer person if you leave here with a happy experience. You'll be more pleasurable in the world."
He said they're excited to be in Rutherford, and getting to know another neighborhood with new people. Discounts are given for students at lunchtime, and he's surprised by how much they know about quality food.
"They know to avoid processed foods. They're very educated about what's going into their bodies," he said.
Even the cold cuts at Suprema are artisan quality. "They're not processed. There are no nitrates. Our prosciutto is just pork and salt."
Suprema will hold its official grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. with a ribbon cutting with the Rutherford Mayor and Council. There will be complimentary food samples and beverages as well as music. Everyone is invited to stop in and say hello.
Hours are Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
For more information call 201-531-1190 or see its Facebook page . The website is under construction.
Suprema is located at 92 Park Ave., Rutherford.
Michael's Salumeria is located at 536 Valley Brook Ave, Lyndhurst.