April 25, 2012
A second customer in less than a year has collapsed at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas (yes, that’s its real name). Why? For starters, the 40-something-year-old woman was eating one of the restaurant’s famed Triple Bypass Burgers, a mountain of fat with roughly 6,000 calories. She was also drinking and smoking just before she was carried out on a stretcher – but all that’s par for the course at a burger joint whose slogans include, “Taste worth dying for!”
Restaurant owner Jon Basso – who dresses as a doctor, while his waitresses wear nurses’ uniforms – told The Fiscal Times on Wednesday that, to his knowledge, the woman survived and is “still in the hospital for observation. Who knows what gave out – the liver, the lungs, the heart, but she was in a bad, bad way when they took her out of here. She was unconscious, barely breathing. We attract people who don’t really take good care of their health and who are naturally attracted to this sort of place.”
At the 120-seat Heart Attack Grill, people who weigh over 350 pounds eat for free. A sign on the door boldly announces, “Cash only, because you might die before the check clears.”
Basso proudly notes that just last week, his Quadruple Bypass Burger was certified by the Guinness World Record folks as “the world’s most caloric burger,” with its whopping 9,983 calories. Selling for $12.94 and with an option to add 20 bacon slices for $3.69, it’s a mountain of four half-pound patties and eight slices of American cheese.
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“Why would you be silly enough to eat something like that?” Basso asks rhetorically. “It’s the same type of person who goes downhill skiing – we attract that subculture, that type of thrill seeker. And sometimes things happen. Go downhill skiing often enough,” he adds, “eventually you’re going to hit a tree.”
The recent medical trauma at the restaurant follows another collapse just two months ago, when a customer who had also ordered the Triple Bypass Burger needed medical attention when he suffered a heart attack at the restaurant. (He survived.)
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The burgers served up at the Heart Attack Grill include the Single Bypass, the Double Bypass, the Triple Bypass and the Quadruple Bypass. Other offerings at the burger joint: Flatliner Fries, which are “deep fried in pure lard,” for $1.84; the ButterFat Shake, with the option to add in 4 ounces of whipped-cream flavored vodka, for $4.62; and beer, wine, Coca-Cola, and calorie-free bottled water.
Doesn’t Basso worry about his liability – his responsibility to his customers? “We offer reasonable precautions,” he replies. “We caution people at the door and on the menu. Everybody else sugarcoats how bad their food is for you and tries to hide behind their side salad, which no one ever eats anyway.”
For the record, the Heart Attack Grill does not sell a side salad, or any salad for that matter. “We don’t even sell light beer,” says Basso, adding that he’s busy year-round. “Right now I have a line out the door. It’s Vegas.”
When in Vegas, by the way, don’t miss this tagline on Basso’s menu: “Cash only, plus 8.1 percent sales tax for our wasteful government to squander.”