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At Heart Attack Grill, diner's symptoms weren't fake

February 15, 2012 |  6:00 pm


The Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas promises that its food will clog arteries, expand waistlines and lead to the loss of lovers. It offers a parody of a medical-based dining experience, with food servers called "nurses," diners called "patients" and the food itself called "prescriptions."

All told, perhaps it's small wonder that other patrons thought a man who appeared to be having a heart attack Saturday night was part of a stunt pulled by the restaurant. 

But no, the man really was in distress.

“It was no joke,” said restaurant owner Jon Basso, according to the Associated Press. Although Basso promotes himself as "Dr. Jon," employees called for real medical help instead, the AP reported. A video on YouTube showed the man being wheeled out on a stretcher by medical responders.

One server, aka "nurse," told Fox5 in Las Vegas that the man -- who reportedly had been eating a triple bypass burger -- began having chest pains, sweating and shaking. Calls to the restaurant went unanswered Wednesday.

Authorities in Las Vegas have not disclosed the man's name or condition, the AP reported, but Basso told the local Fox affiliate that the man was recovering from what was described only as a "medical episode."

News of the event was circulating Wednesday through social media venues and news sites -- but not on the Heart Attack Grill's website. It wasn't responding. 

One tweet read: "PR stunt for the Heart Attack Grill? No, he actually needs ambulance"

Another: "A customer has a heart attack at The Heart Attack Grill. The rest writes itself."

The restaurant, whose slogan is "taste worth dying for," is no stranger to criticism. It's come under fire over the years for its menu offerings. Among them is the 8,000-calorie "quadruple bypass" burger, with four half-pound patties, eight slices of cheese and a lard-doused bun. The restaurant's  "flatline fries" are not cooked in oil, but instead lard. 

The Heart Attack Grill offers free meals to people weighing more than 350 pounds. 


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-- Ricardo Lopez

Photo: The Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press