I survived the Heart Attack Grill!

What visit to Las Vegas would be complete without a visit to the gut-busting grill whose spokesmen are dropping left, right and centre?  Located on Fremont Street in the, erm, heart of downtown, this place draws its share of curious tourists.  I made sure to grab a seat within sight of the entrance, so I could scoff at the folks who came in, saw the size of the burgers on the menu, and ran away crying, with their tails between their legs.  Of course, I didn’t just come for the people watching.  I was determined to finish one of these artery-busting burgers, even if it killed me!

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What, that doesn’t look like a big burger to you?  OK fine, how about a close-up?

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Aren’t you glad you didn’t order a double?  Well, yes I am, actually.  I did get mine with bacon, though.  I must say that I initially thought five strips of bacon was a lot, but on this massive burger, they get sucked into the chili-cheese vortex, and practically disappear from the palette.  And here’s the bad news.  Although the Grill serves up great big burgers, they really aren’t great burgers.  The meat was pretty bland with an unappealing texture.  And while the red onions added a bit of sharpness, especially if you bit right into one, the overall taste was dominated by the chili, which was average at best.  If you’re not a fan of the chili cheeseburger, I’d definitely advise you to stay away.

On the other hand, the fries are fairly tasty.  Thick cut, skin on, like you’d get at a good chip shop.  Curiously enough, they look nothing like the Flatliner Fries on the menu.  Does that mean mine weren’t covered in lard?

But don’t think you can order a burger without chili, either.  These guys really stick to their guns.  I saw a family of three walk in, with a boy about seven or eight, and when he didn’t wanna put on the hospital gown (yeah, they make you wear those), the hostess sent them on their way after a word with the owner.  There’s also no sharing allowed, unless you order a Single Bypass.  Hey, you don’t need help digging your own grave, right?  (Erm, wait…)

And here’s the pièce de résistance: Their receipts blame Obama for the Nevada Sales Tax.  Well, that’s what I thought initially, but it occurred to me that it’s actually a subtle dig at Obamacare.  After all, they list your subtotal as “Medical Services.”

001(Because you’re gonna wish you had socialized medicine after you eat here!!!)

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I saw two big boys tip the scales at more than 350, which means that their Bypasses were on the house.  (This was before noon, mind you.  I’m sure there were plenty more throughout the day.)  Try getting that deal at an American hospital! ;)

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Talk about a heart-wrenching story—just in time for Valentine’s!

Call it fate, call it kismet, cue the Alanis Morisette if you must, but in any case, this heart-rupturing incident clearly had to occur a couple days before V-Day.  The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that “The second unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas has died from an apparent heart attack.”  Upon hearing the news, the management was understandably heart-broken.

“He lived a very full life,” owner Jon Basso told the Sun.  Considering that his beloved burger joint has a menu item containing 9,982 calories, that’s probably an understatement.  While not an employee of the Grill, 52-year-old John Alleman, aka Patient John, had his face plastered on everything from the menu to t-shirts and other merchandise.  But while he had been occasionally offered a free meal for his services, he always paid his tab.  “He never wanted a handout from anyone. He always insisted on paying,” Basso said. “He lived, ate and breathed the Heart Attack Grill.”  Until he suddenly stopped breathing at the bus stop outside the place, that is.

Although funeral arrangements for Patient John have yet to be made, the Grill will reportedly be closed in his memory on the day of the service.  And while he’ll need to find a new spokesman, the owner says he doesn’t plan on changing the name.  “(Alleman’s death) isn’t going to stop us from what we’re doing,” Basso told the Sun. “People have got to live their lives.”  Lives which will surely be shortened after a couple Quadruple Bypass Burgers, mind you…

One thing you can’t accuse the Heart Attack Grill of? False advertising!

In Japan, the fugu, or puffer fish, is considered a delicacy.  Although it’s been called the “second most poisonous vertebrae in the world,” it apparently tastes delicious.  That’s why some people are willing to risk their lives—and somewhere between 50 to 200 bucks—to try it.

You could say the American equivalent to the fugu is the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, a themed restaurant that lived up to its name again last weekend when a customer collapsed at her table.  The burger joint, whose 9,993-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger has been recognized by Guinness, is an ode to American obesity: people over 350 pounds eat for free!

Owner Jon Basso considers his eatery a hot-spot for thrill-seeking risk-takers, a “bad for you but fun” restaurant that “attracts people who don’t really take good care of their health,” as per the L.A. Times.  He also figures that his customers know what they’re getting into.  “Unlike cigarettes, I have had warnings labels since Day 1 when we opened in 2005 telling people how bad our food is for you. I think that skirts any liability we might have.”

Just how much is 9,993 calories?  Let’s put it this way.  According to the Mayo Clinic’s Calorie Calculator, that’s more than three times the estimate daily calorie needs—for Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he who currently weighs 312 pounds.  Whoa, I think I just came up with an idea for a post-mayoral business opportunity.  Who can finish off a Quadruple Rob Ford burger? Nooooobody!