What can you say when wives take their husbands and children take their dads to a restaurant called Heart Attack Grill® for a Father’s Day treat? A restaurant with a warning sign that reads “Caution: This place is bad for your health,” before you even walk in the door?
All you can do is pray that the poor guy’s life insurance premiums are paid and up-to-date.
According to its Web site, the Heart Attack Grill® in Chandler, Arizona, had its best Sunday on record, as hundreds of husbands and dads were taken to the outrageously unhealthy, hospital-themed restaurant by their families and loved ones for a Father’s Day meal. This over-the-top eating establishment, whose tag line is “Taste worth Dying For,” has become internationally recognized for embracing and promoting an unhealthy diet of incredibly large hamburgers and greasy fries. Customers are referred to as “patients,” their orders are called “prescriptions,” and the scantily clad waitresses act as “nurses” (and unregistered ones, at that).
Serving up coronary cloggers that range from half-pound “Single Bypass Burgers®” all the way up to two-pound “Quadruple Bypass Burgers®,” the unhealthy, yet ingenious restaurant opened its doors in 2005 as the brainchild of “Dr.” Jon Basso. Basso, a former personal fitness trainer and nutritionist, came up with the idea for the Heart Attack Grill® while writing a marketing thesis about fitness training studios. He was intrigued by stories about his clients who were cheating on their diets and decided to open up a restaurant where patrons could come to have fun and leave their clean, healthy lifestyles behind.
Not a Doctor, but he Plays one in the Restaurant
A self-proclaimed “non AMA-recognized physician” (in other words, he is not a doctor), his restaurant has achieved acclaim and attention, even though he admittedly spends nothing on advertising, save for the restaurant’s Web site. The popularity of the Heart Attack Grill® comes through word-of-mouth and widely circulated news stories that continue to keep his trademarked food and controversial practices in the media spotlight. Labeled nutritional pornography by some, the food is definitely not anything you’d want to eat on a regular basis.
“I run perhaps, the only honest restaurant in America,” said Dr. Jon, in an interview with CBS News. “This is bad for you and it’s going to kill you.”
Their 8,000 Calorie Burger put them on the Map
Although most diners order the Double Bypass Burger®, it’s the controversial Quadruple Bypass Burger® ($14.95) with 8,000 calories that has people buzzing. This gargantuan gastronomical Godzilla consists of four, half-pound beef patties, practically a whole tomato and about half an onion. The buns are coated in lard and it is melded together with eight thick slices of cheese.
No wonder they call this the Heart Attack Grill®.
You won’t find a salad bar in this restaurant. You won’t even find a piece of lettuce for your burger. What you will find, however, is an all-you-can-eat “Flatliner Fries®” bar, where the potatoes are cooked in 100% unadulterated lard.
“They taste better and they’re better for you,” said the unlicensed “doctor” during his interview.
There is nothing “diet” about this place. They don’t serve diet soda and they don’t sell light beer. If you want to buy cigarettes, they only have the unfiltered variety. Everything on their menu is contrary to whatever you have been taught about healthy eating and good nutrition. They also glorify largesse. Anyone weighing in at 350 pounds or more (before ordering) gets to eat for free.
So why is this place doing so well at a time when everyone is extolling the virtues of healthy eating? Dr. Jon has a theory. “Because they’re sick and tired of reading that everything else out there is bad for you … They think that for one golden moment, ‘I’m going to get what I want,’ and that’s a big, sugar-rich Coca Cola, a quadruple bypass burger, dripping with fat … Mmmmm.”
Diners are Delivered to their Cars … in Wheelchairs
Dr. Jon is an active participant in the business. You can find him on a daily basis at the griddle, actually flipping hamburgers in his white doctor’s lab coat and stethoscope. He even checks on the “patients” as they feast on the fat-laden food.
At the Heart Attack Grill®, they say, “live for the day.” However, if you’re lucky, maybe you can make it into the early evening hours. For those who enjoy their meal too much, the most satisfied diners are offered a free ride to their car . . . in a wheelchair.