Purple Sprout to bring healthy vegan, raw food options to Wheeling
Suburbanites seeking vegan food -- both raw and cooked -- have a new option as the Purple Sprout Cafe at Riverside Plaza in Wheeling opens to the public today.
Purple Sprout is the first restaurant from wife and husband team Irina Kuznetsova and Karim Raimbekov. The couple and their two children are vegan, and they hope to offer healthy food options to people in the area.
"We have an urge to share what we know and share our recipes with people," Kuznetsova said.
The Wheeling mother of two fought her way out of postpartum depression six years ago by spending time in her kitchen and developing a passion for cooking healthy food.
The couple started a vegan catering business in 2014, and Purple Sprout was conceptualized in January, she said.
Food items such as raw cheesecake, kale chips and lentil nori power wraps will be on the menu and already have proved popular with catering customers.
"Our kale chips have a unique flavor that you can't find in the stores," Kuznetsova said.
And she says the power wraps are similar to jerky, made with a combination of dough made from sprouted lentils and a nori, or seaweed, wrap.
Several of Purple Sprout's menu items will be living foods.
"That's food that retains most of its nutrients, so the nutritional content is intact, or close to what it was like when the plant it came from was growing," Kuznetsova said.
The cafe, at 341 E. Dundee Road, will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Purple Sprout also will offer juices and smoothies made in-house, plus wheatgrass shots, Kuznetsova said.
She hopes the cafe will eventually serve as a venue for customers to purchase locally grown microgreens. Growers will bring the greens to the Purple Sprout, which will serve as a pickup hub for pea shoots, radishes and more, Kuznetsova said.
Purple Sprout already has more than 300 likes on its Facebook page, and Kuznetsova said she and her family have received great support from the community.
"What surprised us is a lot of people are interested in healthy food," Kuznetsova said. "Even we didn't realize how much interest there was in food like this in Wheeling."
The couple eventually hopes to host food tastings and classes, and offer meal plans for adults and children.