If you’re going to laugh in the face of obesity by opening a restaurant that serves an 8,000-calorie burger, you might as well open it in Sin City.
And that’s just what Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso is doing. On Wednesday, the owner opens the doors to his third Heart Attack Grill location, this time in Las Vegas.
The restaurant offers a Quadruple Bypass Burger that contains four beef patties, cheese, bacon and reportedly, about 8,000 calories. Along with its staple sandwich, the menu offers a milkshake with the world’s “highest butterfat content” (garnished with a tab of butter) and flatliners fries that are deep fried in pure lard. People who weigh more than 350 pounds eat at the restaurant for free.
The Heart Attack Grill did not immediately return requests for comment.
”[This is an] amazing marketing concept, but unfortunate that eating extremes are a part of that concept,” said Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. ” I hate to see a restaurant provide food choices that are so contrary to current dietary uidelines, but people do have a choice and they can choose not to go there.”
Upon walking into the restaurants, customers are required to wear hospital gowns. Sexy waitresses dressed as nurses serve the outlandish food, and Basso himself, who prefers to go by Dr. Jon, wears a doctor costume.
The restaurant’s slogan? “A Taste Worth Dying For.”
“This is like physical comedy and spoof, which dives so far into what makes us uncomfortable that suddenly it’s funny,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Center. “But unfortunately, the ‘let’s laugh at fate’ [attitude] can turn very ugly when fate gets the upper hand.”
Sadly enough, fate did get the upper hand when Blair River, a Heart Attack Grill spokesman, died after coming down with the flu earlier this year. He was 29 and weighed 575 pounds.
But that doesn’t stop the infamous restaurant’s marketing tactics.
“We would not find it cute if a particular bar catered to alcoholics and gave them gallon-size drinks to guarantee that everyone would fall down drunk,” said Katz. ”We would not find it cute if a facility opened for bulimics that included a public vomitorium. We know that some behaviors are harmful, and the right approach is to help people over them, not pretend they are OK.”