Denver’s Little Man Ice Cream Company has been busy recently. Just in the last few months, the burgeoning business has opened the new Constellation Ice Cream stand inside an airplane-themed structure in Stapleton, another ice cream stand called Churn in Fort Collins, and a 1,200-square foot tasting room and production kitchen on West Colfax.
Now, the company is diving into soft serve ice cream for the first time with the opening of its sixth ice cream shop, Dang Soft Serve Ice Cream, which debuts Friday in Park Hill.
Dang, which is located at 2211 Oneida Street in Park Hill’s Oneida Park shopping area, will offer eight flavors of soft-serve at any given time. As the original Little Man in LoHi did with hard ice cream, Dang will aim to do with soft serve by offering a mix of classic and original flavors.
The flavors the shop will open with include Mexican Chocolate, Caramel Corn, Dreamsicle, and Iced Matcha, though Little Man Director of Marketing Basha Cohen said the flavors will change and rotate regularly (the company ‘s chef has already produced more than 90 of them).
The shop’s ice cream machines will each contain two of the eight flavors, a set-up that will allow for the machine’s two flavors to also be swirled together into a twist. Chocolate Ganache and Dreamsicle, and ‘Nilla Eclipse and Black Raspberry are two of the twist combos the shop will offer on Friday.
Customers will also have the choice of ordering a cup or cone adorned with one or more of the shop’s 30 toppings and dips, which range from Bourdeaux Cherries to strawberry, chocolate and cookie butter Magic Shell dips—a press release knowingly notes the resulting concoctions will make for “Insta-worthy photos.”
In addition to adorned and swirled cones and cups, Dang will also offer sundaes, Blizzard-like concoctions called bomb cyclones and, in another first for the Little Man brand, french fries.
Little Man founder and owner Paul Tamburello says the idea to build a shop around soft serve and french fries (he hopes that people will dip the fries into the soft serve) came out of a desire to expand Little Man in new and fun directions. It’s a desire that is also expressed in the design of the space, which is adorned with big swaths of bright color and lava lamp-like patterns.
“Our other shops are nods to a nostalgic vibe with Little Man being very old school and Sweet Cooie’s [in Congress Park] being a 1920’s soda shop,” said Little Man Operations Manager Loren Martinez. “With Dang we really wanted to be current, modern and edgy a little bit.”
But even as the shop aims for a uniquely modern vibe, elements of 1980s pop culture obviously shine through in the blocks of purple and turquoise and other distinctive pop art elements, such as chairs that look like outstretched hands.
The shop is located in a 1,500 square foot building with a slanted roof that adds to the quirkiness of the design, while the front of the space contains an open-area for kids to play in. The name, meanwhile, comes from the team’s desire to offer an impressive experience.
“We want everything about coming here to make you say ‘dang,’” Martinez said. “So ‘dang, look at this place’ and ‘dang, that ice cream looks amazing.’”
Dang will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 7 p.m. on Friday, which will be followed by an 1980s silent disco costume ball from 8 to 11 p.m. There will also be an 80s costume contest with a prize of tickets to RiNo’s new Mission Ballroom concert venue.
Dang will then be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Tamburello said Dang will be Little Man’s last new venture for the foreseeable future, though more eventual expansion is a possibility. He is also interested in someday owning his own dairy to supply Little Man’s shops, though he is unsure if that idea would ultimately be feasible.