Scoop: Del’s/Palagi’s turf war gets heated

Palagis owns the town concessions contract until next Tuesday, but will likely retain it after a town council vote. Palagis owns the town concessions contract until next Tuesday, but will likely retain it after a town council vote.

Del's was denied last year's concession contract last year because it does not sell ice cream, just slush.

Del’s was denied last year’s concession contract last year because it does not sell ice cream, just slush.

What’s colder than an extra large slush on a hot summer day? The turf war going down between Palagis Ice Cream and Del’s Lemonade.

Police have been called twice this past week — once by Del’s driver Roxanne Orien, once by Palagis driver Duncan O’Brien — with each accusing the other of selling frozen treats without the proper town approval. One of the arguments between the two got so heated that “it scared the customers,” Warren Police Lt. Roy Borges said.

Animosity between the two summertime institutions isn’t new, as the Town of Warren has for years allowed only one vendor to sell lemonade, ice cream and other concessions at the Town Beach, Hugh Cole School, Kickemuit Middle School and town fields.

Last June, after the town council was set to award the yearly contract to Del’s (the high bidder), Mr. O’Brien appealed to council members to choose Palagis instead, even though he bid less than Del’s: The reason? The contract calls for the sale of ice cream and slush, though Del’s only sells slush, he said.

“I carry 36 different varieties of frozen novelties,” Mr. O’Brien told the council. “What about the ice cream? Del’s doesn’t have it. And not only that, I’ve got the best lemonade that Warren has ever seen.”

The council agreed and awarded him the contract.

The animosity this year started just after 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, when Ms. Orien pulled in to the Hugh Cole School parking lot to sell slush. According to a police report, she said Mr. O’Brien ran over to her yellow and green truck as she arrived, yelling that she was in violation of the town contract that he’d been awarded last year. After the confrontation, Lt. Borges said, “she took off.”

Two days later, at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, May 2, Mr. O’Brien was selling ice cream at the Kickemuit Middle School when the Del’s truck again pulled up. There were no words exchanged this time, but Mr. O’Brien called police to report that “Ms. Orien continued to violate the contract on a daily basis.”

In response, Ms. Orien said Palagis, and not Del’s, was in violation.

Who’s right? According to the town clerk’s office, Palagis, and not Del’s, still has sole permission to sell ice cream and slush at town fields and spaces. The contract signed last year remains in effect until next Tuesday, May 14, when the Warren Town Council signs the concession rights for the coming year.

Unlike last year, though, there will likely be little drama in awarding the bid. Palagi’s is the sole outfit to bid on the concession contract this year, bidding $750 for the right to sell. Del’s did not submit a bid by the deadline last Friday.

Messages were left at both Palagis headquarters in Pawtucket and at the Del’s on Child Street in Warren. Neither were returned prior to deadline.

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3 Comments

  1. CM said:

    I’m not a fan of Del’s. They treated me badly the last time I went to their store. Before that happened, I tried their ice cream and slushy drinks and thought they were awful. Whatever Palagi sells, it has got to be better.

  2. bali1228@excite.com said:

    The Del’s lady knows full well she doesn’t belong selling in the area, as that was all settled last year. Also, if anyone in town really wants a Del’s they can walk in to the shop on Child St and get one.
    I know this sounds like a petty disagreement, but knowing folks that have worked ice cream trucks in the past, it’s hard work and they don’t draw a pay until they have covered the cost of their inventory (and I’m assuming the town’s fee).
    So to the Palagi’s driver this is about defending his livelihood, as many drivers make their yearly salary during the summer months. I personally, would be upset to lose Palagi’s.

  3. Howie Walton said:

    Dels is over priced and tastes like crap, one time i got dels and there was a piece of plastic in it the person selling it said yeah so, I said I wanted a new one so he dumped it on the ground and filled the same cup again. No flavor just a couple pieces of lemon peal GROSS.
    Im happy to buy Palagis they have great flavors and great prices very friendly and happy. True professional service with a smile. Also great ice cream too. Dels is a has been.

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