Since teaming up in 2007, Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen have test marketed their Bean Sprouts concept across the country, and now Seattle is getting the flagship. In July they’ll launch a cafe and cooking school inside the Armory at Seattle Center.
Their MO is the type of thing Michelle O would be all over. "We found that there is a need for healthier food at family destinations," explained Seip (she signs emails "peas out") over the phone from Madison, WI, where’s she’s based. (Business partner Parthen is in Colorado Springs.) The goal of Bean Sprouts is to expose kids to nutritious fare and different flavors, she continued, using some playful thinking. Wazzles are pizzas on waffle crusts, for example. Fruit-topped yogurt is served in what appears to be an ice cream cone. Fruit dippers accompany chocolate hummus. And just look at that roll. There’s baby food, too, organic and made with peas and leeks; roasted sweet potatoes; or cauliflower, broccoli, and gruyere.
While Bean Sprouts certainly tailors to offspring, Seip assures parents will find plenty to nosh on as well. She and Parthen, both moms, have had their share of gaggy meals at more tot-focused eateries. "I’d jump off a bridge," chuckled Seip at the thought having to eat at another one. Consider the salads—caprese, spinach strawberry, turkey cobb—served in a whole grain or gluten-free tortilla cone. Or the sandwiches, like melted gruyere and spinach or curried chicken salad with cranberry chutney.
As for that cooking school, Bean Sprouts will work in conjunction with the Children’s Museum. Kids are eager to get in the kitchen, Seip pointed out, and while it’s "not always pretty, it’s fun." Classes will tailor to children as young as two years old; a schedule is still getting sorted.
Bean Sprouts should prove a fine fit for this food-focused burg. Seip recounts speaking to suppliers in other parts of the country bewildered at her requests for fresh and natural ingredients. Another Bean Sprouts is likely to open on the east coast soon.