Poughkeepsie Bistro Farmers & Chefs Includes the 50 Cut Burger | Chronogram Magazine

Flavor, texture, and substance have all been common reasons in the past why some folks have shied away from vegan and plant-based foods. But today, many food purveyors have found a way to address those concerns: cashew cheese that melts, veggie burgers that smell like beef, vegan steaks that “bleed”. However, whether for nutritional needs or dietary preferences, some omnivores aren’t quite ready to forgo meat entirely, yet they’re open to reducing their meat consumption. That’s where 50 Cut by Mush Foods come in—products that are part meat, part mushroom, full of flavor—and you can try them locally at Farmers & Chefs, pioneering chef John Lekic’s American farm-to-table bistro in Poughkeepsie.

“I met the founder a few years ago who told me about growing mushrooms on his farm in Hyde Park, and about his idea for 50 Cut—to cut the consumption of animal protein by 50 percent,” explains Lekic. “They developed the idea further and the first product I tried was the burger—50 percent local ground beef, 50 percent mycelium, made with a blend of mushrooms. It blew me away; it tasted like a full-beef burger, but it was moist and lighter—if I didn't tell you it had mushrooms in it, you wouldn't realize.”

click to enlarge 50 Cut: A Meat/Mushroom Blend That Reduces Meat Consumption
50 Cut can also be used in a bolognese sauce or meatballs dish.

Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, is the key to maintaining the taste and feel of the burger, with an umami flavor and fleshy texture. Plus, it’s rich with antioxidants and fiber, elevating the nutritional value of a typical burger. Mush Foods, which raised $6.2 million in seed funding in 2023, was named a Grow-NY Food and Agricultural Business Competition winner, with a mission to help reduce meat consumption in the US restaurant industry. The 50 Cut line features six chef-curated mushroom root blends designed for restaurant use.

“We have a vertical farm on the property and grow our own mushrooms that we use in other dishes, but we decided to make a special section on our menu with a few 50 Cut meals,” Lekic explains. “Customers were so into the burger that we were curious to see the reaction if we took the traditional burger off the menu and just offered this one. It’s lighter in your stomach than full beef, nutritionally a better product, and made simply with mushrooms, beef, salt, and pepper; no additives and not processed. Even our less-adventurous customers have loved it. So it’s become our regular burger offering.”

The burger comes topped with sharp aged cheddar and a choice of toppings (starting at $20). Additional 50 Cut menu items currently include Italian-inspired favorites like meatballs with a choice of stone ground polenta or housemade spaghetti with marinara ($26), and bolognese with housemade rigatoni ($28). They’re planning to expand offerings, eyeing poultry and sausage options.

“It’s something healthier and sustainable,” Lekic says. “My wife is vegetarian and I’m mostly plant-based, and we’re conscious about eating healthy yet delicious foods. We find 50 Cut to be very flavorful ourselves, but at the restaurant the customer has the final say—and so far the final answer has been, ‘Yes!’”

Location Details

Farmers & Chefs

40 Albany Street, Poughkeepsie


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