On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I stopped by the Heart Attack Grill.
The restaurant has been in the news recently after its owner “Doctor Jon” Basso gave a bizarre interview on Bloomberg TV where he said his restaurant kills its customers. He even carried the (alleged) cremated remains of a customer with him.
And while it’s a macabre gimmick, it’s not entirely inaccurate. Heart Attack Grill is crazy unhealthy: The restaurant’s signature dish is its 9,982-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger, which weighs a staggering 3 pounds. Customers can order burgers with up to eight patties, all topped with chilli, tomato, cheese, onion, and bacon (for an extra fee).
Inside, the restaurant has an ironic medical theme with nurse waitresses and hospital-themed decor. Even the customers have to wear hospital gowns, and anyone over 350 pounds eats for free.
Disclosure: Our trip to Las Vegas, including travel, food, and lodging expenses, was sponsored by MGM Resorts International.
The Heart Attack Grill is not close to the Las Vegas Strip. We took a 20-minute cab ride that cost about $US35. (That little squiggle is the strip.)
But we finally made it. Welcome to the Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas, where everyone who weighs over 350 pounds eats for free.
Don't know how much you weigh? Thankfully you can weigh yourself outside before going in (there's another scale inside, too).
Upon arrival, the 'nurses' (waitstaff) give out one-size-fits-most hospital gowns to be worn as bibs for the meal.
The interior is a kitschy mess, with a huge stethoscope spanning the ceiling and plenty of jokey signs with burger and weight puns.
And of course there's a lit up 'Last Supper' mural featuring famous fast food mascots surrounding 'Doctor Jon.'
There was also a large paddle and lucky strike pack floating above our heads. The paddle is a larger version of what customers are spanked with if they don't finish their food (seriously).
You can also always buy some Lucky Strikes if you feel like some cigarettes with your insane burger.
Oh, and don't forget, the Heart Attack Grill is home to the Guinness World Record Winning Quadruple Bypass Burger -- something they are very proud of.
We went during an odd hour, but were surprised how many people were still there. The longer we sat, the busier it got.
When you're ready, one of the 'nurses' will come over and sit at your table to take your order. Our nurse told us it's meant to feel like a medical consultation.
In addition to our burgers, she convinced us to order some drinks. Everything was medical-themed, even the jello 'shots.'
I got the Strawberry Daiquiri, which was served as a virgin drink and came with a pill prescription bottle filled with rum. (It said: 'Take dosages by mouth until you throw your bra at the bartender. Side effects include waking up in strange men's beds.' Classy!)
For my meal, I went with the $US18 sextuple bypass burger with six patties topped with chilli, cheese, tomatoes, and onions. It was the third largest burger on the menu behind the 7- and 8-patty versions, and I opted not to get bacon, which would have cost me an extra $US5.55.
My friend got the single patty burger (we were not allowed to share one burger together, a policy we were told keeps down the price of the burgers). She got bacon on hers, which was surprisingly good.
The fries were soggy, limp, and highly disappointing. There was also not much salt on them -- surprising, considering how much this place seemed to love sodium.
All in all, the burger was pretty tasty. The meat was cooked well, and the chilli was flavorful, too.
But I can't imagine eating here more than once in my life. Neither of us could finish our burgers (surprise, surprise), and we both ended up bringing home leftovers. We did, however, politely decline a spanking for not finishing our food.
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