As much as we love Denver’s nonstop sunshine, some hot summer days require a way to beat the heat.
Little Man Ice Cream’s frosty ice creams, gelatos and sorbets are summertime favorites for residents of Denver’s trendy Highland neighborhood. The shop, shaped like a giant metal milk can, is tucked behind modern Mexican restaurant hotspot Lola on 16th Street and was a welcome addition to the Highland restaurant scene back in 2008.
Owner Paul Tamburello commissioned the milk can’s design to pay homage to the hot dog-shaped hot dog stands of Coney Island. Little Man’s old-time theme is well-established, from the 1940s music to the staffers’ white paper hats and aprons to, of course, the milk can itself.
The flavors at Little Man, however, are anything but old-fashioned. While the classics are available, other temptations include blueberry cinnamon sorbet, salted Oreo ice cream, brandied peach sorbet, honey gelato, fig gelato, banana chocolate chip custard, whopper malt ice cream, pumpkin chip ice cream, raspberry love ice cream, chocolate covered cherry cola ice cream and fluffernutter. And don’t miss the Mexican chocolate ice cream, Little Man’s top-seller. Our favorite, the cinnamon cone crunch, is made with broken pieces of Little Man’s homemade waffle cones.
So what’s the difference between sorbet, gelato and ice cream anyway? Sorbet is water based and flavored with sugar, fruit purees, chocolates, liqueurs or other yummy treats. Gelato, an Italian invention, is made with more milk than cream, and is often less sweet than ice creams. Ice cream, the heaviest and richest of the three, is made with a considerable amount of heavy cream plus milk, sugar and other flavoring ingredients too numerous to list.
The Little Man creamery is just up the street, and all of the flavors are handmade there. Little Man sources ingredients from lots of local businesses, including Colorado Nut Co., Common Grounds Coffee House and Savory Spice Shop. Milk and cream for the ice creams are sourced from Robinson Dairy in Denver.
Little Man Ice Cream’s late summer hours make it a perfect spot for after-dinner treats and date nights. Little kids can play together on the shop’s sliding board while the grown-ups chill out on vintage patio furniture.
The folks at Little Man are particularly proud of their Scoop for Scoop program, with good reason. Since opening, Little Man Ice Cream has donated a scoop of rice or beans to a developing village or nation for every scoop of ice cream sold. At the time of writing, that was 137,141 scoops!
Little Man serves scoops, cones, sundaes, malts, shakes, floats, Italian sodas and sodas. Sizes and prices range from the 99-cents Little Dip serving for tiny people and those with tiny appetites for ice creams, to beautiful displays of ice cream sundae madness for $4.95.
If You Go
Little Man Ice Cream
2620 16th St.
Denver, Colorado 80211
11 a.m. to Midnight Everyday!