A Cup of Cold Heaven

A former Rhode Islander reminisces about the icy delight that is a Del’s Lemonade.
By Lauren Wolk                                                                  Featured Image: go.eat.explore

When I was a child living on the Brown University campus—and, later, as a student there—I knew that spring had arrived when the ground thawed, the crocuses bloomed, and the Del’s Frozen Lemonade truck returned to its customary spot on George Street, just outside the campus green.

That iconic truck was proof that good things do come in small packages.

I didn’t know that Franco DeLucia had brought his father’s frozen lemonade recipe to America more than a century earlier, though he abandoned the practice of keeping snow frozen in caves until the lemons of summer could be harvested. I didn’t know that Franco’s son, Angelo, had developed a machine and method to produce the first “Del’s Frozen Lemonade” in 1948 … and, soon after, the first mobile units to sell it across Rhode Island.

I only knew that the best possible way to beat the heat and quench my thirst was with a little paper cup of cold heaven.

Warmed by my hand, the sweet-tart slush softened so I could sip it without a straw (as all true Rhode Islanders do), slowly squeezing until the rim of the cup narrowed, and I could pour the melting lemonade into my mouth, one beautiful dollop at a time.


Del’s has grown quite a lot since then. Franco’s grandson, Bruce, expanded the company from five franchises in Rhode Island to a multitude worldwide, and his daughter, Stephanie, is leading the family business to new heights with additional products and the chance to make Del’s part of any special occasion.

But for me, Del’s will always be a moment of simple bliss. A reminder to stop and enjoy the little things in life. A cold paper cup, slowly thawing in my hand. Perfect just the way it is.

75 Years of Lemony Bliss

“It is a very happy product,” says Dr. Demetrios Kazantzis, the Vice Present of Research and Development for Del’s Lemonade, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. “Everyone waits every year for Del’s to open to welcome spring coming to New England.”

Kazantzis, who has been with the Rhode Island-based company for 38 years, notes that Del’s started with one product in 1948 and now has over 50 offerings, from frozen lemonade to dry mixes and liquid items, all of which are developed in their Cranston headquarters.  “We sell Del’s throughout New England, in Florida and California, and all over the world with our dry mix line,” he says. “What has been consistent is the high-quality standards for everything Del’s produces.”

Del’s trucks roam Rhode Island and travel up to Boston for Red Sox games, and pushcarts serving frozen lemonade can be found at numerous events across the region every summer. You can even rent a Del’s truck for your own celebration. “Everyone welcomes Del’s,” says Kazantzis, “It makes everyone happy.”

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