“Stop at the sign of the lemon!” declares the Del’s soft frozen lemonade slogan. The Del’s symbol, a frost-covered lemon, can be seen everywhere during summer in the Ocean State.
Made from crushed ice, lemons, and sugar, Del’s sells their signature product at their franchises, trucks, stands, and at the grocery store. The company dates its production back to 1840 in Naples, Italy, when its founder’s great grandfather made a mixture of sugar, lemon juice, and snow, which he sold at the local market. The founder’s grandfather, Franco DeLucia, brought the recipe to the United States at the turn of the century.
After developing a machine to produce the frozen lemonade, Angelo DeLucia created Del’s Frozen Lemonade in 1948. He first opened a small stand in Cranston and later began serving his product from mobile carts, or Del’s Trucks, which spread his business throughout the state. A sign of summer, Del’s carts begin cropping up across the state as the months get warmer.
An iconic Rhode Island beverage, Del’s unfortunately lost the competition to become the official state beverage to coffee milk, but their shared southern Italian origins and continued popularity signal an abiding influence of Italian foodways in Rhode Island.