Q&A: Buffalo is Rising Above and Beyond the Call of Duty | Part 2

Christa and her team at Nickel City Chef, have been working effortlessly to promote these great Buffalo restaurants and chefs.

Why did you want to participate in the Blended Burger Project™

The Blended Burger Project™ presents participating chefs with the challenge of blending mushrooms into a ground meat product, but the result can produce a deep, rich flavor while also lending itself to a more nutritious and somewhat healthier burger. It’s also a fun way to join others in helping the Mushroom Council get the word out regarding an idea that can progress into other great dishes and menu items.” — Ross Warhol, Oliver’s

The Grange is participating in James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project™ for two important reasons. First, we believe that the sustainability benefits of adding 25% mushroom to our burger blend pairs well with The Grange’s general ethics. Secondly, the smoked mushrooms blended with high-quality beef produces delicious results.” — Chef Brad Rowell, The Grange

As a chef who works to source locally and sustainably as much as possible, I really appreciate this initiative. In addition to the environmental impact the switch to Blended Burgers could have, it can also be economically beneficial for a restaurant’s food cost.” — Chef Adam Goetz, Craving

“It’s really great to be part of anything that’s attached to the James Beard Foundation and we’re excited to be part of the Blended Burger Project’s group effort here in Buffalo.” —Brian Mietus, Bacchus

Are these burgers something you could see as a permanent menu item/ do you see your self adding additional blended items to your menu?


The blended burger could be an incredible addition to our menu because it plays well to the American food culture that is emblematic of old Buffalo, but it also approaches fungus in a caring and curated way. Adding our ingredients from Mexico such as a Chihuahua cheese chicharron, worm salt to the bun, and topping it all with Huitlacoche represents us very well.” — Chef Victor Parra Gonzalez, Casa Azul

I could see lloyd keeping something like this on our menu all the time. The addition of the mushrooms make for a super moist burger. It’s almost hard to overcook. For a busy fast casual environment, that is a huge advantage. Not only does the blend taste great, but it’s a cost effective way to yield more usable product. I’d like to try the same application in a sausage of some sort, or even a savory hand pie … the possibilities are endless!” Chef Chris Dorsaneo, Lloyd

I do see the burger as being a permanent fixture on the menu. In fact, it currently is. I like the idea of utilizing mushrooms in the grind as I am a big fan of eating well, as much as possible, without sacrificing flavor. With my recipe, which is very umami- and her- forward, the mushroom added is fitting and not at all forced.” — Chef Bryan Mecozzi, Black Iron Bystro

Crimini Kefta Burger // Black Iron Bystro

6 oz ground sirloin
4 oz crimini mushroom
4 oz flat leaf parsley
2 oz cilantro
1 oz cumin
1 oz coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

4oz labneh
1oz tahini
4 tbl lemon juice
Dash salt

3 English cucumbers
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 oz sugar
3 oz salt


Patty: Spin mushrooms in food processor, add combine with all other ingredients.

Cheese: Combine. Adjust consistency with lemon juice.

Pickles: Slice cucumbers thin. Coat in salt. Rest in colander. Combine sugar, water and lemon juice. After 20 minutes remove cucumbers as is from colander and place in brine.


Brian Mietus // Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant
56 West Chippewa Street, Buffalo, NY 14202
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Wellington Burger
Steak and mushroom blended burger with seared foie gras, tomato bacon jam, chèvre, and spinach garlic aioli on a housemade sweet potato bun


Bryan Mecozzi // Black Iron Bystro
3648 South Park Avenue, Blasdell, NY 14219
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Crimini Kefta Burger
Ground sirloin, crimini, and herb blended burger with tahini labneh and lemony pickles on a brioche roll


Victor Parra Gonzalez // Casa Azul
128 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
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Casa Azul Burger
Beef, bone marrow, mushroom blended burger, cheese, huitlacoche, and onion on a worm salt brioche bun.


Adam Goetz | Craving
1472 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216
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Mushroom Mornay Burger
Blended burger of house-butchered grass-fed beef and smoked crimini duxelles with mushroom confit aioli, and Gruyere mornay on a house-made caramelized onion and shiitake brioche bun.


Chris Dorsaneo | lloyd taco factory
1503 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216
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Burger Al Pastor
House-ground pork butt, portabella, and oyster mushroom blended burger, Guajillo Achiote sauce, fresh pineapple, white onion, cilantro, avocado crema, and fried tortilla strips.


Ross Warhol | Oliver’s
2095 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216
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Blue Collard Worker
Beef, pork, and mushroom blended burger with maple Bourbon blueberry compote, pancetta, roasted collard greens, and cheesy onions on toad-in-the hole Texas toast.


Brad Rowell | The Grange Community Kitchen
22 Main Street, Hamburg NY, 14075
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The Future Burger 3000
Brisket and house-smoked  shiitake blended burger with aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and horseradish whole grain mustard aioli on a house-made sesame potato bun.