Purple Sprout to bring healthy vegan, raw food options to Wheeling

  • Vegan lemon raspberry swirl cheesecake is among the options at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling.

    Vegan lemon raspberry swirl cheesecake is among the options at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Wife and husband Irina Kuznetsova and Karim Raimbekov offer healthy, vegan food options at their new restaurant, Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling.

    Wife and husband Irina Kuznetsova and Karim Raimbekov offer healthy, vegan food options at their new restaurant, Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Vegan vanilla cheesecake is among the offerings at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling.

    Vegan vanilla cheesecake is among the offerings at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Savory stuffed crepe with chickpea scramble and sunflower seed sour cream is on the menu at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling. Owners plan to offer healthy vegan food -- both raw and cooked.

    Savory stuffed crepe with chickpea scramble and sunflower seed sour cream is on the menu at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling. Owners plan to offer healthy vegan food -- both raw and cooked. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Mint-chocolate and spinach cheesecake is on the menu at Wheeling's Purple Sprout Cafe, which will offer both raw and cooked vegan food, juices and more.

    Mint-chocolate and spinach cheesecake is on the menu at Wheeling's Purple Sprout Cafe, which will offer both raw and cooked vegan food, juices and more. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Juices on Purple Sprout Cafe's menu include, from left, Powerhouse -- with carrot, apple and sweet potato and wheat grass shot, and the Fountain of Youth, with apples, kale, celery, lemon, ginger and parsley.

    Juices on Purple Sprout Cafe's menu include, from left, Powerhouse -- with carrot, apple and sweet potato and wheat grass shot, and the Fountain of Youth, with apples, kale, celery, lemon, ginger and parsley. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Kirsten Michelotti cuts wheat grass for shots at Purple Sprout Cafe, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Wheeling.

    Kirsten Michelotti cuts wheat grass for shots at Purple Sprout Cafe, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Wheeling. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comA black bean and hemp seed burger are one of the many healthy options at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling.

    Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comA black bean and hemp seed burger are one of the many healthy options at Purple Sprout Cafe in Wheeling.

 
 
Updated 11/12/2015 5:29 AM

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.

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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.

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