By Emma Honcharski | Photographs from Jim Chiesa Photography

Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar, a Strip District staple serving dishes made with local produce and livestock, is expanding its impressive menu of steaks and chops to join over 300 restaurants in a nationwide burger competition! The James Beard Foundation encourages chefs to make their burgers more delicious, nutritious, and sustainable with The Blended Burger Project™, blending freshly cultivated mushrooms with ground meat. 

Cioppino Executive Chef Robert Laskowski is joining the challenge with his Smoked ‘Shroom & Swiss burger: local ground chuck and beef short rib combined with chanterelle mushrooms, a seasonal favorite in Western Pennsylvania. With smoked tomato jam, house-smoked bacon, and Swiss cheese on a house-baked brioche bun, this is a burger we want to see come out on top! 

A blended burger is a more sustainable option, in line with the ethical choices Laskowski has always valued. “Throughout my years as a chef in the Pittsburgh Market, I have developed deep relationships with our local farmers and purveyors,” Laskowski says. “I have a great passion for limiting food waste and creating sustainability. I feel that the Blended Burger Project™ provides me the opportunity not only to showcase my talents on a national level, but also bring awareness to this movement.” It’s also a healthier option that reduces calories, fat, and sodium, and adds important nutrients including Vitamin D, potassium, and B vitamins — not to mention the rich, nutty flavor of wild chanterelles. 

Fans can cast their vote online here through July 31. With each vote, customers get a chance to win an all expenses paid trip for two to the 2018 Blended Burger event at the James Beard House in New York City, where winning chefs will showcase their blended burgers — and where, hopefully, you can chow down on a Smoked ‘Shroom & Swiss for a second (or third…) time!

Cioppino Restaurant & Cigar Bar,

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