If good things come to those who wait, then we can expect spectacular things from the new Little Man Ice Cream Factory, originally slated to open last summer.
First of all, it’s an ice cream factory, which is pretty spectacular in and of itself. But this isn’t just any ice cream factory. This is an ice cream factory filled with a hand-carved slide, a suspended conveyor-belt bucket-delivery system, baked goods and magic. And if you don’t believe in magic, there’s still the ice cream.
The 7,000-square-foot factory/tasting room/bakery is about a block from Sloan’s Lake on West Colfax Avenue, and it opens to the public Saturday, July 6. (The factory portion, however, has been churning Little Man ice cream for a year now.)
“We’re proud of our product, so this is an opportunity to let people see how the products they’ve come to love come into existence,” said Dom DiCarlantonio, Little Man’s area manager. “It (the Little Man Ice Cream Factory) captures somebody’s attention and lets them fully experience it with all their senses.”
The Factory is a sort of art-deco laboratory, designed to resemble the insides of an old-fashioned ice cream churn. You walk in through a “freezer” and enter the churn, where the scoop shop, ice cream production facility, slide and conveyor-belt ice cream-delivery system (made from an old dry cleaner’s belt) compete for your attention.
Besides the salted Oreo ice cream that Little Man fans already love, the scoop shop will sell baked goods made on-site, branded schwag and rotating, special plated desserts. (First up: a buttermilk panna cotta with thyme ice cream, peach compote and graham crackers.) If you like to sample a little of a lot, the five-flavor flights are the way to go.
The industrial kitchen here has upped Little Man’s ice cream production tenfold, to about 800 gallons a day. Before, everything was made in a tiny Victorian kitchen on Tejon Street. If the scoop shop is busy — which, judging by the lines that the original Little Man can in Highland inspires, it will be — the kids will be entertained watching the ice cream being made, or by sailing down the wooden slide built by owner Paul Tamburello.
Opening-day festivities start at noon on Saturday and include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, prizes and live music. Come dressed as an ice cream factory worker (jumpsuits, hard hats and tool belts are suggested) and you’ll get a golden ticket for the chance to win an ice cream party for 20 of your nearest and dearest.
Next up: The team plans to knock out the factory’s west wall and create a public courtyard connecting across the way to a new Illegal Pete’s location. With Little Man, the ideas are always churning.
Little Man Ice Cream Factory: 4411 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, 720-710-8440; opening July 6
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