Heart Attack Grill: Monument to Greasy Gluttony

Las Vegas restaurant says it wants to promote good health by serving outrageous portions.
8:23 | 10/19/13

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Transcript for Heart Attack Grill: Monument to Greasy Gluttony
attacks after eating at the establishment would be a source of great concern and shame, something minimized and explained away. Not at one spot where they actually promote how unhealthy it is, offering free meals to its most obese patrons. And even celebrating a death on the premesis. It is aptly named the heart attack grill. We sent abc's ryan owens to check out their new digs in none other than sin city. ♪ Reporter: In a country where calories are posted like warnings on restaurant menus, where unhealthy school lunches are under fire, and where our first lady has a vegetable garden, there is an alternative reality. And it looks like this. This monument to greasy gluttony. Almost there. Almost done with the single bypass. Reporter: Is called the heart attack grill. It is a defiant throw back to a prehealth obsessed america. A kind of hospital themed hooters, located where else, sin city. But as you are about to find out, eater beware, this restaurant can literally be hazardous to your heart. Remarkably the owner says it is all done in the name of promoting good health. One among us has to tell the truth. That's what we are doing here. Reporter: The heart attack grill pride itself on pushing limits along with belt sizes. Diners must wear hospital gowns. People 350 pounds plus eat free. their flat liner fries cooked in lard are unlimited. Thirsty try the all butterfat shake. Or maybe a shot of vodka served in a prescription pill bottle. And new to this menu, a burger with eight patties, almost 20,000 calories. That's the equivalent of nearly 40 big macs. If you don't finish your meal, you get spanked. By a nurse. She is not exactly a real rn. But her spankings are real, real hard. Ow. . Reporter: The restaurant and all its repulsive excess seems at home among tourist traps in las vegas. Its owner, perhaps the ultimate vegas showman, is john basso. As the part of his act, he likes to be called dr. John. Now breathe in for me. Reporter: Dr. John has become something of a superstar in the fast food world. In his trademark over the top way he depicts himself as jesus christ at the last supper dining with the industry any other giants. He certainly has come a long way since I first met him three years ago at his first heart attack grill outside phoenix, arizona. Back then, the restaurant was under fire after its nearly 600-pound spokesman, blare rivers died of obesity related issues. He was just 29. There is an argument to be made that you used this guy during his life and that now you are very morbidly using his death to continue to promote your restaurant? I absolutely agree. And in a very sick way his death has gotten the message out further. This man any death has the not given you pause at all? Zero pause. Reporter: You guys we are actually rolling now! Actually rolling! Dr. John's vegas location is double the size of his old place in arizona. And his in-house fatality rate it hasn't slowed a bit. How many people have had heart attacks in the room we are sitting in? In the room we are sitting in we have had three heart attacks. Reporter: How many people have died? One. Now I would like to say that the other two, I did the grandest of favors for. Because they now uniquely and in is very real way understand their own genetic short comings. Now the one that I couldn't save, was a very dear friend of mine. And I want to tell you something, they'll say it is grotesque, they'll say how. Reporter: Yes, they will. How can you keep the man's cremation here? I will tell you something. I am setting the bag on the table and I challenge any other restaurant to set the bag on the table. I'm talking about a bag of truth about what is not going to happen if you don't listen to me. This will happen. This was a good man. With hopes and dreams and couldn't control his eating habits. Reporter: Inside the bag are the remains of yet another spokesman, john ailman. He ate at the restaurant every day. But people are actually dying -- so that's kind of where the gig has to stop. What do you say? People are dying. People will continue to die. Can they just stop, pause, and reflect upon the food for thought that I am selling? It's not hamburgers, not t-shirts, not french fries, I am sellg you food for thought and a good laugh. Let's all have a good time. But let's really digest this, think about it, or end up like my friend in the bag. Reporter: Until then, dr. John is the first to admit heart attacks are part of his business model. When there are lights and sirens outside and bringing some person out on a gurney, you are basically in the back room counting money at that point? Absolutely. Was that heart attack good for business, did that heart attack pad my wallet with money? Absolutely. Did I enjoy that? Absolutely. I am a businessman first and foremost. Let's be clear about something. I'm not peddling hamburgers to small children without parental guidance. These are adults, purchasing a legal substance from me. I want, one and only one thing. I want my message out there loud and clear. I am a believer that when people hear my message the net health benefit to society is incredibly good. Reporter: It is true that before he serve d up artery clogging gut churning meals he ran fitness clubs and diet centers. But real nutritionists aren't buying a word out of this fake doctor's mouth. It sound to me like he is appealing to very base instincts. And certainly playing into people's enormous resentment about being sold told what to eat. If he is making a living and making money doing this, obviously there are people who really respond to this. And he is marketing to them. Here's the thing -- our restaurant serves bad-for-you food. Other restaurants serve bad-for-you food. We're honest. They're not. Plain and simple if everybody collectively got together and told the world all restaurant food is bad for you, then maybe we would save a few lives. Because I don't want to see people dead. Now, if they do dime here, I am not going to lie to you. That's great for business. I will say it again. Death is great for business at the heart attack grill. Reporter: Some how in the three years since we first met, dr. John has found a way to be even more exploitative. He recently hired a very short nurse two speed around in a miniambulance delivering beers. It has its perks. Mike aeis my hero. Reporter: He found a spokesman. 400 pound, mike lee, suffered his first heart attack and he is still alive. How are you doing on the program, mike? Great. Reporter: While people keep dying. The heart attack grill is thriving. We both doubled in terms of money, in terms of square footage. We have exponentially grown. When you want to talk about extending the message. Reporter: Dr. John hopes to continue to grow and expand his morbid message to an even bigger audience. Perhaps in a city near you. I'm ryan owens for "nightline" in las vegas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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