Heart Attack Grill's Unofficial Spokesman Dies After Heart Attack


Basso said Alleman was not overweight but tall and weighed 180 pounds. But his heart attack was the most recent example of the Heart Attack Grill seemingly living up to its name. In February 2012, a man suffered an apparent heart attack while eating a "Triple Bypass Burger," which is estimated to have 6,000 calories. Two months later, in April, a woman had similar symptoms to the man at the restaurant and was taken to the hospital.

In March 2011, Blair River, the former 575-pound spokesman for the restaurant, died at age 29 of pneumonia. Basso told ABC News at the time that his weight had complicated his condition.

Basso acknowledged the irony in his restaurant's name and that two of Basso's spokesmen had died, and customers had had heart problems after eating there, but he said he had no intention of shutting down the Heart Attack Grill or removing his high-fat, high-calorie meals from the menu.

"I honestly do believe I help more people now than I ever did when I owned the diet center," Basso said. "[Alleman's] death serves as another lesson for people. ... I often say I serve burgers and fries, and I also serve food for thought."

Every day, before Alleman left the restaurant, Basso said Alleman would turn, stand at attention at the doorway and give Basso a military salute. Basso would salute him back from behind the bar.

"The last thing I did for him yesterday was to salute him," he said. "I'm sure he is in a better place, if such a place does exist."

Basso said the Heart Attack Grill would be closed for Alleman's funeral, which will be set later this week.

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