Over the past couple of months, I’ve learned a lot about my color. No, I’m not talking about my aura (that’s more of a puce), I’m talking about the pure representation of my being that isn’t technically visible to others. AKA: my soul.
My soul is a sieve, straining out my life’s liquid. Any solids left over make up my soul’s rich color. Thanks to the overwhelming hype surrounding the opening of Little Damage at 7th and Spring, I’ve learned that my soul is a darker shade of pale. Or, to put it in terms my fellow iPhone swiping iCone lickers will understand: my #soul is #dark.
Since Little Damage opened a couple of months ago, there have been literally dozens of posts about with some variation on the “Ice Cream That’s as Dark as Your Soul” headline. This is a cool concept: black ice cream (colored with the aid of charcoal filtering), black Oreo-esque waffle cone, and even black toppings, all cranked out in a small Insta-friendly space with Goth paraphernalia. If Edward Gorey had a sweet tooth, he might have grabbed dessert here.
Little Damage’s savvy business model—aesthetically friendly ice cream at one of Downtown’s busiest corners—has paid off. Lines typically wrap around the block; on weekends the wait is over an hour for that dark dessert. The tasting spoon-size of the physical space itself only adds to the allure: roughly the size of Dracula’s casket, it guarantees an overflow and always seems like the hottest ticket in town. Indeed, they even employ a security guard to maintain order (and make sure that lines don’t encroach on the neighboring businesses).
The whole enterprise thrives on Instagram, and is exceptionally camera-ready. Flavor isn’t even really the main selling point, although Little Damage definitely holds its own. Go to Cherry On Top or Yogurtland and your tastebuds are in for chaotic joyride of a wildly unrestrained mix of toppings and froyo flavs; you’re not really focusing on creating something photogenic. But Little Damage’s customizable ice cream is really just a base coat, or a background, for your final composition. That said, the two colors—Dark Cinns (kind of horchata-esque) and Unicorn Tears (blue vanilla)—are delicious… diabolically delicious. And they even have a vegan flav (Avocado Dreams) that tends to run out quickly.
Since it’s a block from my apartment, there’s not much keeping me from going here every day. That is, if the hordes of oblivious patrons trying to get that perfect shot didn’t make me want to hole up in an Edwardian-era estate, wrap myself in dark velvet and write morose poetry by candlelight. Don’t look at me.
My first Little Damage visit was on a hot Saturday afternoon. The wait was between 45 minutes to an hour. This being Downtown LA, film crews are a familiar sight. On this particular day, Colin Farrell was in the ‘hood filming some driving scenes for an upcoming movie—probably this one. (I’ve loved Farrell ever since I discovered that the character he played in Phone Booth was named after me.) I saw Farrell twice, acting his heart out in a scene. It made the excruciating wait for Unicorn Tears a little more bearable.
And the staff running Little Damage welcome photo ops, of course. That’s the whole point. They have a cool staging area that is—unfortunately—right in front of the fucking cash register, and even an awesome photo booth that spits out Little Damage-branded photos.
Even the toppings are pleasing to the eye: praline almonds, caramel corn, oreos, and some counterintuitive rainbow sprinkles. Patrons plan out their cones like they’re wedding photographers arranging extended families against a sunset. It’s a lot of work.
I’ve been here twice, and I’ve seen complex group shots, self-important selfies clogging up traffic, and, once, a customer in front of me bitched and moaned because the colors of the soft serve were in the wrong order (Dark Cinns on the bottom, Unicorn Tears on top). The poor kid had to make it all over again. Little Damage brings out the worst in people.
Little Damage is located at:
700 S. Spring
Los Angeles, 90014