We can’t help but acknowledge that in America, the unofficial motto might be “the greasier, the better.” But there comes a time when we need to realize what is acceptable and what is crossing a line. Heart Attack Grill is the perfect example of a restaurant that probably should’ve stayed a fantasy. Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Heart Attack Grill.
10. From Health Guru To Doctor Of Grease
Heart Attack Grill is a burger restaurant in downtown Las Vegas and is known to be quite the controversial spot. Not only is the food designed to make you feel like you could end up in the hospital, but the decor actually is a hospital, with provided gowns, weight-ins, and nurses as your waitresses. Heart Attack Grill is probably one of the most unhealthy restaurants in the United States, and it’s almost a wonder how it’s still open. But what’s even more shocking is the person responsible for this whole thing. Jon Basso, who also goes by Dr. Jon, chief surgeon, used to work in the weight-loss biz. Yes, it’s hard to believe, considering he now runs a restaurant that serves people weighing 35olbs and over for free, and yet, he started out by helping people eat healthy and get in shape. Then one day, he couldn’t take his job anymore: he felt like such a fraud advising people to achieve goals that were supposedly outside of genetic possibility. He thought that he wasn’t being honest with his customers as a fitness guru and became more and more jaded and bitter as the years went by. So he left it all behind and he opened his own restaurant with a “taste worth dying for.” And that’s the story of how a former weight-loss specialist went from keeping people from the hospital to sending them directly into one – sometimes literally.
9. Brutally Honest
If there’s one thing we can give credit to the Heart Attack Grill for, it’s their honesty. Since Basso had a history of feeling like a liar with his fitness customers, he decided to do the complete opposite with his new business and lay down the facts right in people’s faces. He has repeatedly told people not to come to his restaurant unless they knew what they were getting themselves into. Actually, he has bluntly said to not go to his restaurant since “it is bad for you and will kill you.” You can’t be more clear than that about your intentions, that’s for sure. Basso has also explained how he feels that some people are predestined to suffer from things like heart attacks and other health issues solely based on what genes they inherited. He was also disillusioned that all the work done by the fitness and health industry still hasn’t been enough to help curb the obesity problem. So, to him, indulging in a ridiculously caloric burger isn’t going to change the fact that, well, we’re all going to go one day, so why not? He claims fitness programs have “failed in their mission,” and we should take a different approach. That might be true, but is the answer really to create monstrous burgers and then tell people not to eat them? Basso certainly seems to think so. Tell someone they can’t or shouldn’t have something, and they’ll want it even more.
8. There’s A Lot Of Deaths
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a restaurant called Heart Attack Grill has seen its fair share of actual heart attacks. True, many fast-food restaurants have probably experienced cases of heart attacks or even death, but rarely as often as this Las Vegas joint. The most significant and talked-about death related to the Heart Attack Grill is of their very own 29-year-old spokesman Blair River, back in 2011. The 575-pound man passed away after being in the hospital for four days due to pneumonia complications. While pneumonia has nothing to do with the restaurant, his poor health and weight were an important factor, which Jon Basso acknowledged. A little over two years later, an unidentified customer suffered a heart attack, but this time, it was directly linked to the restaurant after they dined on a Triple Bypass Burger. That same year, a woman collapsed after attempting to eat a Double Bypass Burger, while smoking cigarettes and drinking margaritas. In 2013, a daily customer and unofficial “mascot” John Alleman, also passed away from a heart attack while he was at the bus stop, right in front of the restaurant. While death is supposed to be a sad thing, Basso sees it as good business. He even stated that “Death equals business at the Heart Attack Grill.” Let’s just hope he doesn’t run out of customers.
7. Cremated Remains On Display
Heart Attack Grill is known for its extremely unhealthy food, and Jon Basso is ready to go to some pretty great lengths to prove just how true that is. A lot of deaths have been associated with eating at the restaurant, and while it would probably tarnish the name of any other brand, Basso took the bull by the horns and ran with it. As part of a new advertisement campaign, Heart Attack Grill displayed the cremated remains of past customers who died at the restaurant while eating there. He even went on Bloomberg’s In the Loop with Betty Liu with the little plastic baggie of ashes to showcase the fact on a more global scale. Needless to say, not everyone was on board with the morbid idea, but Basso still claimed that everything he does, he does with good intentions. He claimed that this odd marketing strategy was to show how he doesn’t believe the fast-food industry when they say eating at their restaurants is healthy. He just wants to, again, be as blunt as he can with his “patients.” He wishes bigger chains like Burger King and McDonald’s would follow his lead. While his concern for America’s health might seem a little contradictory considering his menu, to him, people should be aware of the risks and know exactly what they sign up for. With this bold and grim move, people probably know more than ever now.
6. Employees Aren’t Always Comfortable
As a hospital-themed restaurant, Heart Attack Grill goes all out. From the hospital gowns to the waitresses’ nurse outfits, everything is designed to make your experience as accurate as possible. But, it turns out, it’s not all employees who feel the same hospitality when they put on their uniforms. One of the reasons why is the fact that, while they’re dressed as sexy nurses, waitresses need to spank customers who can’t finish their meal. While this gimmick is part of their contract, some “patients” make their task a little harder by, well, taking advantage of that punishment, which obviously can make the staff pretty uncomfortable. There are some other pretty distressing events that occur every day at the restaurant, and a former hostess shared some of her experiences with a news outlet. She said that while working one day, a customer passed out, and an ambulance had to be called. Instead of caring for the customer, her manager made her take out her cell phone and record the whole thing to send it to the news, in hopes that it would bring in some new customers. Perhaps showing a little more bedside manner would have been better in this case, but as you know by now, business comes first at Heart Attack Grill .
5. Nothing Is Healthy…Nothing
Usually, when you go to a regular fast-food restaurant, you’re going to be able to find something that looks at least relatively healthy, like a salad or a low-fat meal, but at Heart Attack Grill, the chances of that happening are impossible. Everything, and we mean everything is made to be shocking and insanely unhealthy. The only glimpse of vegetables you might find are onion and tomato slices… That’s it! Even the fries, which could technically be considered a little healthier than a gigantic burger, are fried in lard instead of vegetable oil. So, even the fries, the only thing that could be a “lighter option” for you have now been compromised. While there’s not much information about the official calorie counts and fat content for Heart Attack Grill’s menu, there are some estimations out there. And yes, they’re as bad as you would expect them to be. The Triple Bypass Burger would have about 6,000 calories, mostly because everything is cooked in lard, and nothing is ever drained or dried before being piled on the burger. The Quadruple Bypass Burger even won the title of “world’s most calorific burger” in the Guinness Book Of World Records in 2013 coming in at 9,000 calories. But their most horrific – or impressive – burger yet, is the Octuple Bypass Burger, with over 20,000 calories, meaning they easily beat their very own record. The 40 pieces of bacon, chili, cheese, and eight patties monstrosity represents the number of calories most people eat over the course of 10 days.
4. Legal Actions Against Competitors
When you’re trying to become the best death-by-food restaurant, you need to do everything in your power to keep that title, and Jon Basso has done exactly that ever since he opened the restaurant. He has taken numerous legal actions against other chains trying to compete with his one-of-a-kind outrageous brand. Notably, a burger joint called Heart Attack Shack, which opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee, back in 2017. Basso sued over trademark infringement. During his lawsuit, Basso couldn’t comment much on the matter, and it was noted that the only real resemblance between the two restaurants was the name, however the Heart Attack Shack did end up closing its door. Surprisingly – or not – this wasn’t the first time Heart Attack Grill took action in court to settle matters. A Florida deli called Heart Stoppers Grill was sued for having an “Instant Heart Attack Sandwich” on their menu. However, this time, the judge ruled in the deli’s favor, and Basso lost his copyright infringement case in New York federal court. Since then, the deli has even added a Triple Bypass Sandwich, just to rub it in Heart Attack Grill’s face even more.
3. Some Items Just Shouldn’t Be Legal
Forget the fact that fast-food is not the most healthy or that it’s called fast-food for a reason; there’s got to be a limit to what is considered safe for consumption and what just shouldn’t be put out there for customers. Heart Attack Grill definitely has some questionable menu items that make you wonder if they’re even allowed to be served. We’ve already mentioned the 20,000 calorie monster – the epitome of recklessness that’s broken a record – but there are plenty more shocking items that are designed to make you beg for a salad long after your visit. First of all, no matter the size of your burger, it’s harmful. The tiniest bite of the tiniest burger is probably enough to clog your arteries. On this list of things that shouldn’t be legal at Heart Attack Grill, we have the Half Pound Chili Coronary Dog, which is bigger than a newborn baby. Need we say more? A food bigger than a human being shouldn’t exist, period. Next up, we have the Butterfat Milkshake – the perfect way to make an already calorie-packed dessert into something even worse – and finally, the Flatliner Fries, in which the name speaks for itself. While they may sound like a fun dare to take on, these menu items really shouldn’t be eaten regularly – or, if ever.
2. Endless Amount Of Booze
What’s a greasy, oily meal without some excessive consumption of boozy drinks? Well, according to the Heart Attack Grill, to complete your meal, a massive amount of alcohol is a must for the experience to be complete. Apparently, having super-sized and over-the-top menu items wasn’t enough for the restaurant, and they needed to go even further with their booze options. The plays on words and hospital puns never seem to stop, and they take it one step further by serving their drinks in various ingenious – or worrying – manners. For example, the shots – which are big enough to take an elephant down – come in giant syringes to make it look like you’re getting your daily dose of medicine. Then, of course, there’s the bag of wine hooked up to you like an IV, which is always a good conversation starter. And the grand finale, the vodka that comes in little pill bottles, to get your prescribed fill before a large meal. Heart Attack Grill is definitely all about gluttony, whether it’s the food or the booze, there is no exception. But worry not, everyone is welcome at the restaurant, even those under 21, and they have plenty of other drink options for those who don’t fancy boozing it up while dining.
1. Can It Give You An Actual Heart Attack?
The easiest answer to that question would be: Yes. Doctors and health specialists all agree that a poor-quality diet, such as eating junk foods or fast-food over a long period of time, contributes to the risk of developing adverse health conditions. You might become more prone to digestive issues, obesity, strokes, and even heart disease. There is also concrete evidence that a high-fat meal can transiently affect the blood vessels, which can heighten the risk of heart attacks. Considering Heart Attack Grill serves some of the greasiest and most unhealthy meals there is, it’s safe to say that regularly dining at this restaurant could – if not you give you a heart attack – be greatly to blame. However, if you’ve been to Heart Attack Grill once in your life, or are planning to pay a visit, don’t worry too much. If you make it a one-time thing, you should totally be okay, and there isn’t any evidence that one visit could cause any real harm. Many health experts have expressed how making a habit of unhealthy foods is a big no-no, but it’s not going to kill you if you indulge in it once in a while. So, by all means, if this whole list made you want to head over Heart Attack Grill to see what all the fuss is about, then go right ahead, you should be fine – hopefully!