It’s a treat for the eyes and ears: A beautifully restored vintage truck. Nostalgia-inducing bells. And, oh yes, the ice cream is a treat, too.
“Hearing the bell of the ice cream truck is a happy memory for so many of us,” says Joe Marazzo, 54, owner of Delicious Ice Cream, a Basking Ridge-based family business that boasts the state’s oldest fleet of refrigerated ice-cream trucks (deliciousicecreamllc.com).
Although the bells still ring, you won’t hear Marazzo’s trucks driving through neighborhood streets anymore. Instead, the family’s three antique Chevrolet trucks are dispatched to parties, weddings and corporate events.
The business is a nod to a bygone era and to the memory of Marazzo’s father, Al, a decorated World War II army veteran who, in 1955, purchased a used ice cream truck to supplement his income. Joe got involved during college and never quite got the business out of his blood.
“Driving that truck paid for 100 percent of my college tuition,” says Marazzo, who attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is a vice president of NJ Resources. After putting the ice cream business on hold to complete graduate school and raise a family, he jump-started the company in 2008. Today, Marazzo and his wife, Jennifer, are chilling out as children Christopher, 22, Alyssa, 21, and Tommy, 18, manage the business and drive the trucks—uniformed in old-school white shirts, spiffy bow ties and perky caps, of course.
“Once my kids showed interest in driving the truck and earning their own spending money, I decided to have Dad’s original 1950 white Chevy truck professionally restored,” Marazzo says. Soon after, he added two more customized Chevy trucks to his fleet: a 1954 in cherry red and a 1955 in turquoise. “I love my Chevys and entrusted only Somerset Hills Classics in Bernardsville and New Vernon Coach and Motor Works with the restoration and maintenance,” he says. Blairstown painter Alan Johnson duplicated the original 1955 company logo and ice cream artwork on all three vehicles.