The new, custom-made and painted ice cream truck is “the Rolls-Royce of ice cream trucks,” said Ozel. “It’s a Whitby Morrison truck made by David Cummins. It was made in Florida and shipped to England to be converted and hand-painted. There is no other truck like it in New York State and only about 10 in the U.S. The truck doesn’t need a generator to power the freezer, which saves on fuel costs and makes the truck much quieter.” The truck looks sleek and modern, yet it has a nostalgic feel.
Ozel is famous in Port Washington. Everyone knows Mel the ice cream man. “The kids love me,” said Mel. “Port Washington has a lot of class and they love ice cream.”
Ozel has been Port’s ice cream man for the past 23 years. Originally from Turkey, Ozel came to the U.S. in 1993 and soon after started selling ice cream in Port Washington.
Ozel said that in Port, the ice cream truck has to look good. “Years ago a customer told my brother that his truck wasn’t nice enough and I always remember that,” said Ozel. “Port Washington deserves the best.”
Ozel goes to all the hot spots in Port to sell ice cream—Campus Drive, Pine Street Park, Landmark, Sousa, Soundview and anywhere else around town where kids are. Ozel will come to parties and serve ice cream as well.
“I have a girl’s birthday party tonight of about eight girls,” said Ozel.
Ozel has a great rapport with his customers, offering advice on what to order for babies, suggesting ideas for the indecisive and even giving a child who didn’t have enough money a discount. Ozel knows many of the kids names and they all know Mel.
“One customer introduced me to a visiting friend, saying ‘this is our ice cream man, Mel,’ ” said Ozel. “It’s really nice that I’m part of their lives and part of the community.”
To speak to Mel, text him at 516-444-0886.