"A step back in time," and a step forward into the future has given new life to the 19th century, E.C. Peer & Sons General Store. The history of the E.C. Peer General Store goes back to before the Civil War when Samuel Peer purchased the property. In 1862, E.C. Peer opened the general store at the address of Lock 8 east, on the Morris Canal. Edward Cook Peer served as lock tender from 1862-1915. His store catered to the canal boatsmen and their families. He operated the store for more than 40 years.
In 1915, Edward Cook Peer died and his three sons took over the store. Horace worked the family farm, and Frank was in charge of deliveries. Ritter worked in the store waiting on customers and also acted as lock tender. It was the lock tenders job to regulate the depth of water in the lock. The 40 foot long canal boats had to carefully pass through the 11 foot wide canal. In 1964, Eugene Peer, a grandson of E.C. Peer, pulled down the roll shades and locked the doors of the store for some 18 years. In 1982 the building was restored.
Although it has been a long time since the days of the canal boatsmen, and E.C. Peer & Sons General Store, the history of the general store has been preserved in a collection of photographs, tins, advertisements, and antiques. At La Cucina, the antiques left behind by the Peers family sit on the shelves, the photographs hang on the walls, and advertisements and tins are found throughout the entire restaurant. Even the antique crank phone once used by the Peers has been restored, and is now used by the hostess.
The food at La Cucina is "home made". Many of the traditional recipes being used have been handed down for generations by the families of the owners. At La Cucina you will always be treated like family, and our food is always freshly prepared. Since the 1800's, bread, milk, eggs, and other convenience items have been sold. Today, pasta, pizza, home made mozzarella, Italian specialty items, ice cream, magazines, cook books, candles, etc. are available.