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MNfusion: Mercy Takes Part In James Beard Blended Burger Project

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- For the second year in a row, the James Beard Foundation is hosting the Blended Burger Project.

And for its inaugural year, Minneapolis' Mercy restaurant is taking part!

Mercy opened in the former spot of Marin at the Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis on April 1.

Head chef and co-owner Mike Rakun, who had been the executive chef at Marin, joined together with his wife, Abby, and partner Scott Gardiner, to purchase Marin to create their own concept.

Now, just a few months after opening, Mike is hoping to make a big name for the restaurant by taking home a win in the Blended Burger Project.

The James Beard Foundation started the Blended Burger Project as a way to promote healthy and sustainable cooking.

Burgers that are part of this project combine ground meat and chopped mushrooms. This maintains the heartiness of the patty, while being healthier for diners and more sustainable for the planet.

Burgers included in the competition must be made with a patty that is at least 25 percent mushrooms.

The chef must then send a photo of the burger to the Blended Burger Project to be used for online voting. It is these votes that count in the end.

Finally, the chef and restaurant are invited to build excitement for their burger on social media by encouraging their diners to tweet, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat about the dish using the hashtag #BlendedBurgerProject.

Chef Mike's burger, the Shroomy Lucy, debuted on the menu at the start of the competition – Memorial Day.

It is Mercy's take on the classic Juicy Lucy.

The patty is made with ground prime Niman Ranch beef mix of brisket, sirloin and chuck, combined with chopped mushrooms and stuffed with Brie.

It is then topped with ramp mustard, watercress and pickled ramps.

"My philosophy has always been to use fresh, sustainable ingredients so the ingredients speak for themselves. The Blended Burger Project is a fantastic program that can educate diners on simple ways to not only incorporate healthier ingredients in your everyday cooking, but to be more sustainable at the same time," Rakun said in a recent press release.

The Blended Burger Project runs through July 31.

After the competition ends, the five chefs with the most online votes will win a trip to the James Beard House where they will showcase their burgers at a special event in 2018.

For more information, or to see the other burgers, visit the James Beard Foundation online.

Mercy is one of nine Minnesota restaurants participating in the culinary competition.

Other restaurants include Barbette in Minneapolis, Barnes and Noble Kitchen in Edina, Bulldog  in Northeast Minneapolis, Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, Gigi's Café in Minneapolis, Pour Wine Bar & Bistro in Otsego, Red Stage Supper Club in Northeast Minneapolis and Tado Steakhouse in Welch.

Mercy is located at 901 Hennepin Avenue. For more information, visit Mercy online.

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