Say hello to Kelly Parthen, who with business partner Shannon Payette Seip created the family-friendly restaurant concept Bean Sprouts - a "hip & healthy cafe." The first Colorado store has opened in the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, 1805 N. 30th St.

In 2007, they opened the first Bean Sprouts in Wisconsin. Now 13 of the cafes dot the nation, including the new local one. The goal is to spark kids' appetites for yummy, good-for-you food and delight grown-ups with a happier mealtime. The food has no artificial flavors or colors, no preservatives, no antibiotics and is allergy-friendly.

"When we started our families, we got interested in ways to help our children make better food choices," said Parthen, who lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two children. "Children's tastes develop before they are 5 years old. Shannon and I thought if we made food playful and let them cook with us, they would have more fun and be better eaters of fruits and vegetables. The goal was to have them try new tastes."

The eateries are housed in family- friendly locations such as zoos, children's museums and parks.

"We had been looking for a place where families gather," Parthen said. "But until we talked to the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, we had not found a good fit. We are super excited to have our new cafe here."

The menu features gourmet coffees and teas - think lattes, mochas, cappuccino and chai. The kids' menu, called Imaginibbles, has dishes made into fun shapes such as the Flutter Bite with turkey, cheddar, mayo and veggies, and the Crocamole, with avocado, hummus and veggie dippers. Parents get such choices as Tuna Dillight, with dill tuna salad, cucumbers, tomatoes and organic greens, and Mona Cheesa, with melty mozzarella and feta, spinach, artichokes and pesto. There are also soups, salads, pizzas, snacks and smoothies. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Details: 634-6666, beansprouts.com, gardenofgods.com.

Crawfish calling

Get your fill of fresh crawfish at Robert "Chef BB" Brunet's mudbug boils at Momma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen, 6620 Delmonico Drive, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until crawfish run out) Saturdays through July. Fresh Louisiana crawfish are flown in for the feast, which includes boiled crustaceans seasoned with Zatarain's crab boil seasoning, corn on the cob, new potatoes and beef sausage. For $29.95, you get a 3-pound platter, or pay $47.50 for a 5-pound platter. Go big with the Super Platter ($89.95) with 4 pounds of crawfish, 2 pounds of snow crab, 1 pound of jumbo shrimp and all the fixings. It's first come, first served. No reservations. Want to do your own thing? Preorder crawfish before 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Details: 964-0234, mommapearls.com.

Hippity hop

Red Rabbit Cafe & Ice Cream, 124 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., is open and serving some amazing joe, Josh and John's ice cream, fudge, candies, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, salads, wraps, pastries and other sweets. Try the hot spicy turkey sandwich ($10) for a delicious treat of Boar's Head turkey deli meat, bacon, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño, tomato and chipotle aioli on sourdough bread. It's a mouthful of gooey goodness. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Details: 434-2256, redrabbitcafeandicecream.com.

Big night

Franco Pisani, owner of Paravicini's Italian Bistro, 2802 W. Colorado Ave., celebrates the eatery's 15th year of business with a redo of his famous Big Night Dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday. When the restaurant first opened, he did a dinner themed on the movie "Big Night."

"It's a great restaurant movie that I recommend watching before coming to the dinner," he says. "I've rewatched it and gone over the menu to be sure my Big Night feast is perfect."

And, as in the good old days of his earlier dinners, Louis Prima, aka Randy "Sinatra" Rodriguez, will show up to croon Old Blue Eyes' tunes. Cost is $75 including tax, tip and wine. Reservations required. Details: 471-8200, paravicinis.com.

-

Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodieBlack or Facebook Teresa Farney.