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Checking in on the Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, Ariz.

June 5, 2011 | 12:02 pm

HeartAttackGrill
Arizona has been full of arguably bad ideas for many years. I should know, I grew up in Tucson and lived through the impeachment of Gov. Evan Mecham and the release of the Public Enemy hit "By The Time I Get to Arizona." These days there is the controversy surrounding Gov. Jan Brewer's stance on immigration and Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio's penchant for dressing his inmates in pink underwear.

So it comes as no surprise that a restaurant named Heart Attack Grill, which serves free fat-laden food to customers who weigh in at over 350 pounds, exists in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. I had known about the place for a while and had succeeded in forgetting about it before it suddenly appeared in the news last week. On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that the restaurant had closed due to the sudden death of its 29-year-old, 575-pound spokesman, Blair River.

The restaurant's logo is "taste worth dying for." So, yes, it makes sense that it would close up shop after River's death. End of story. Except it wasn't. On June 2, the Arizona Republic reported that Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso said that he's not closing -- that he had just shut the restaurant temporarily "to put a few posters on the wall." Basso also said that he was in a dispute with the city over the color of paint on his restaurant, and that if he can't resolve it he will open a new location in downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale. And he recently opened a franchise in Dallas.

So a bad idea just gets worse and its spreading -- like mold on cheese -- to regions formerly unmolested by humongous "Quadruple Bypass Burgers;" "Flatliner Fries" fried in pure lard; and "Butterfat Shakes" served by chesty women in tight nurse's uniforms.

Arizona, give me back my jaded youth and my Milli Vanilli cassette tapes, I'm filing for divorce.

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 -- Jessica Gelt

Illustration: Heart Attack Grill

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