Step into the wall-to-wall black and white checker print decor at Little Damage and you’ll know why there is always a line wrapped around the shop. The interior alone is enough to make you want to stay for endless photo ops with your ice cream as the ultimate prop. The minimal color scheme accented with pops of neon phrases like “I Licked It So It’s Mine,” a menu with jumbo lettering that greets you at the entrance, and a photo booth standing in the back like a shining beacon all contribute to an atmosphere of light-hearted fun - exactly what owner Jenny Damage wants you to associate with her favorite dessert. Based on the high turnout since its opening in late January, it is clear that Damage’s sentiment resonates with her customers, many of whom are “ice cream fanatics from all around the world,” she says.
Such fanatics are also most likely drawn in by the varying range of flavors and playful, culture-derived names, all in the form of an endless pastel-hued swirl. Current offerings on the rotating menu include the ever-popular Salted Covfefe, Little Damage’s interpretation of the word in the form of a salted cookie flavor, Unicorn Tears, a soft blue, vanilla birthday cake flavor that “looks like a teardrop.” Then there’s Vegan Avocado Dreams, a flavor “so delicious and creamy that when it hits your tongue, it’ll take you on Cloud 9.”
In spite of its success, Little Damage maintains itself as a small, family-run business that sources local ingredients supplied by organic dairy farmers, according to Damage. Its goal is to create soft serve ice cream that is “light in consistency and not overwhelmed with unnecessary sugar additions,” hence doing “little damage to your body as opposed to traditional ice cream,” Damage explains.
In addition to always including a vegan flavor on the menu, Damage takes her namesake concept a step further. Inspired by the use of activated charcoal in wellness communities coupled with her interest in using natural ingredients in her ice creams, Damage created activated charcoal waffle cones, an ever in demand and permanent item on the menu. The distinctly black cone paired with an equally dark ice cream, the horchata-flavored Dark Cinns, has probably crossed your social media feed after being appropriately dubbed “gothinspired ice cream.”
Damage’s hope is to “bring everyone and every culture in the city to experience [our] ice cream” as an establishment in the diverse downtown Los Angeles landscape. Whether you’re on a first date, just need a post-meal treat, or an impromptu family outing, one thing is clear — Little Damage is a place for making sweet memories.
Written by Phoebe Yu
Photographed by Eric Cacioppo