Ah, the glitzy world of Las Vegas! Amid the flashing neon lights and the thrilling whirl of slot machines lies a hospital-themed burger joint that unabashedly celebrates its potential health hazards. This is the Heart Attack Grill, where the menu’s calorie count might make health aficionados faint – and where customers have literally faced life-threatening situations mid-bite.
At the Heart Attack Grill, diners are not just customers; they’re “patients.” Every order they place is a “prescription” handed over by waitresses dressed as nurses. The burgers, heavily loaded with calories and cholesterol, range from the Single Bypass Burger to the terrifying Octuple Bypass Burger. Completing their lineup are the “Flatliner Fries” cooked in pure lard, the “Coronary Dog,” Butterfat Milkshakes, and unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarettes. They even have candy cigarettes for children, for those daring enough to bring their offspring.
Several incidents over the years have eerily mirrored the restaurant’s theme. Notably, John Alleman, a daily customer and unofficial mascot of the diner, tragically died of a heart attack after collapsing while waiting at a bus stop right in front of the restaurant. But the tales don’t end with Alleman. Previously, another patron, Blair River, also referred to as the Grill’s “Gentle Giant,” passed away due to flu-related pneumonia. Multiple customers have been hospitalized after consuming monstrous meals like the 6,000-calorie Triple Bypass Burger.
Now, you might wonder: What motivates the founder of such a controversial restaurant? Jon Basso, or Dr. Jon, opened the Heart Attack Grill in 2005, probably understanding that controversy sells. The restaurant even holds a Guinness World Record for the World’s Most Calorific Burger with the Quadruple Bypass Burger, which boasts a shocking total of 9,982 calories. Basso’s marketing strategies don’t shy away from the morbid: as a testament to the restaurant’s daredevil approach, the cremated remains of a past customer have been displayed as a new marketing tool.
Yet, the Heart Attack Grill is more than just a restaurant. It’s a statement, an audacious challenge in the face of the health-conscious trend that dominates much of the culinary world. While veggie and low-calorie burgers are becoming the norm elsewhere, this diner goes to the opposite extreme, making its offerings exceptionally high in sugar, fat and cholesterol.
The restaurant’s modus operandi is in-your-face and unapologetic. Their tagline, “Taste worth dying for,” tells you everything you need to know. Signs at the establishment display dark humor like, “Cash only because you might die before the check clears.”
And as stated on Heart Attack Grill’s website, “All those who weigh over 350 pounds are invited to unlimited free food provided they weigh themselves on an electronic cattle scale affront a cheering restaurant crowd.”
Certainly, the Heart Attack Grill is not everyone’s cup of tea – or should we say, shot of tequila? Some see it as a brilliant marketing strategy, while others view it as tasteless and exploitative. Nevertheless, it remains an iconic part of Las Vegas culture, embodying the city’s spirit of excess and audacity.