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article imageReview: 'Heart Attack Grill' serves mega calorie burgers and controversy Special

By W. Mark Dendy     Apr 25, 2014 in Food
Las Vegas - The Heart Attack Grill has been in the news numerous times since opening at 450 Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Several people have allegedly suffered heart attacks while eating the calorie-laden burgers at the downtown Las Vegas grill.
The Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso even boasts that the food his establishment serves “is not good for you.”
Last October, according to Time magazine, the controversial Heart Attack Grill owner, appeared on Bloomberg Television and pulled what many thought to be a despicable stunt - he displayed the cremated remains of a patron who had died of a heart attack while eating at his establishment.
While controversy seems to fuel Basso's business and grab media attention, mostly negative, one reporter for the Herald-Review defends "the restaurant is likely to do more good than bad."
Curiosity got the best of me, so while I was in Vegas, I decided to go on a special assignment to investigate and report to readers how much truth there was to how bad “Dr. Jon’s” eating establishment actually is – after all, it is in the heart of Sin City!
As I pulled up and parked, I was enamored by the signs out front that advertised everything that we have been taught is bad for us.
Entering the restaurant, I noticed warning signs everywhere. I was greeted by a young lady in a nurse’s outfit that you would never see an actual nurse wear – except, perhaps on Halloween.
Nevertheless, the hostess was courteous and recited the rules, and if you did not verbally consent to follow the rules, you were not served. One was you had to wear a hospital gown while there; so, the hostess put the standard hospital gown on me and tied it in the back.
The only difference between the garb one wears in a hospital versus the Heart Attack Grill is that my business wasn’t hanging all out of the back as it would be in a hospital.
The reason for the gown, I assumed, was for sanitary purposes.
I was led to a table past the bar behind which the owner, “Dr. Jon,” was standing; he was appropriately dressed in a lab coat with a stethoscope draped around his neck.
The waitress assigned to the section I was seated in, “Nurse Rikki” came over and pulled up a chair to my table as if she were going to dine with me.
“Are you going to sit with me while I eat in case I have a heart attack?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said with her pleasant, bubbly voice as she gave me a big smile. “But first, I have to go over some rules.”
I raised an eyebrow. “More rules?” I asked.
She smiled again and explained the rules of no sharing, no take out, no doggie bags, but most important – “If you don’t eat all of your order, I get to spank you!”
Now there’s a concept! If you don’t eat all of this food that is supposed to be bad for you, we are going to paddle you… you bad, bad, bad boy!
Memories of growing up - mom and dad's insistence of "spare the rod spoil the child" re-surfaced.
The perfect appetite suppressant.
I chuckled. And “Nurse Rikki” took my order. While I waited for my “bypass burger” and butterfat milk shake, “Dr. Jon” came over and chatted with me.
I asked “Dr. Jon” to give me an honest assessment of all the bad press and what he is doing.
“After all,” I said, “this food isn’t that healthy.”
Dr. Jon responded with, “I am the only honest restaurateur in America. Any restaurant owner that tells you, they are serving healthy food is lying. If you want to eat healthy food, you have to grow your own!”
An excellent point, I thought.
Basso went on to tell me about how he had previously owned several gyms and was into healthy living. By looking at him, I could tell that he never indulged in his own table fare.
Shortly after Basso and I finished chatting, my food arrived and I began chowing down.
Heart Attack Grill owner  Jon Basso (left)  and Nurse Rikki (right) flank journalist W. Mark Dendy.
Heart Attack Grill owner, Jon Basso (left), and Nurse Rikki (right) flank journalist W. Mark Dendy.
“Nurse Rikki,” palming a table tennis paddle, informed me once again that if I didn’t finish all I ordered she was going to spank me.
I was getting full, but I had on very thin workout pants so I kept forcing myself to take another bite of the massive burger.
As I left the Heart Attack Grill, an establishment that advertises if you weigh over 350 pounds, you eat free, I noticed another sign near the front door - a sign that had a list of patrons whose lives had been changed after eating there. The sign listed their real name, their weight when they first ate at the Heart Attack Grill, and the weight that they had dropped down to afterwards.
I was impressed!
Not only was “Dr. Jon” and his staff friendly and courteous, they really do care about people.
And that is when bad can be good!
Did I finish my burger? Or did I get spanked?
I’ll never tell!
More about Heart attack grill, jon basso, triple bypass burger, Calories
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