Friday, March 9, 2012

Near Death, With A Side Of Irony

A few weeks ago, Las Vegas's Heart Attack Grill nearly lost a customer and gained the perfect spokesman all in the course of one evening. In news that comes as a huge shock to absolutely nobody, a few weeks ago, a man suffered a heart attack while dining at Heart Attack Grill in downtown Vegas.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sin City's classiest dining establishment, Heart Attack Grill prides itself in offering nearly all of life's unhealthiest vices, with food at the forefront of it's glutenous menu--the owner goes so far as to describe the restaurant's fare as "nutritional pornography."  In addition to a menu chock full of oversize, surgery-themed burgers and deep-fried-in-lard "Flatliner Fries", Heart Attack Grill offers unfiltered cigarettes, whipped cream flavored vodka, Colt 45 and other assorted alcoholic beverages, and its famous Butterfat Shake (according to the website, it's "literally pure cream!").

Scanning the menu, the prices are more than reasonable, with the largest burger, the two-pound, 8,000 calorie Quadruple Bypass, costing just $12.94.  On a per-pound basis--or on a per-calorie basis, for that matter--that's not easy to beat.  Of course, restaurants always nail you on the extras--if you decide to add the optional twenty strips of bacon, that'll cost you another $3.69...

Catering to it's core demographic, Heart Attack Grill offers free meals to anyone weighing over 350 pounds, but they're sticklers on this rule--no sharing the food, and the staff has a scale and is not afraid to make you prove your weighty worth.  If you're already tipping the scales at 350+ and live in the area, why you wouldn't eat every meal here for free is a puzzle to me...but back to the main story.

On February 11th, a man was working his way through a 1.5 pound Triple Bypass Burger when he started to struggle.  A waitress noticed the man shaking and sweating excessively, though I imagine this is a fairlycommon sight at an establishment like Heart Attack Grill. But this was no ordinary case of the meat sweats--this guy was actually having a heart attack.

Other customers in the restaurant, thinking this was some kind of publicity stunt, were absolutely delighted by the spectacle and started snapping photos. When the staff realized the seriousness of the situation, they dialed 911. Normally, the arrival of an ambulance would tip off the other customers that something was amiss, but at Heart Attack Grill, you never know--the restaurant has a vintage ambulance permanently stationed out front.

Fortunately, that unlucky customer lived to see another day--and take another shot at the Triple Bypass burger, depending on how seriously he takes his cardiologist's advice.  The man's identity was not revealed, nor was his weight, so we'll never know if he was a member of the 350 pound club eating for free...

Not surprisingly, Heart Attack Grill, a beacon of controversy since it was founded in 2005, drew a whole new level of criticism after the heart attack incident, which was actually the first medical emergency at the restaurant. But is the criticism warranted?  You can't blame the restaurant for this one--the staff isn't exactly holding a gun to customers' heads, forcing them to walk in the door and order food.

And customers clearly know what they're in for when step inside a restaurant advertising a "Taste Worth Dying For!" and staffed with people in doctor's and nurse's uniforms. Walking past the ambulance out front, customers will notice the health disclaimer on the front doors, then be forced to don a hospital gown while dining.  Heart Attack Grill's blatantly honest approach to unhealthy eating is a bit over-the-top, but let's face it, the customers are the ones who should take the heat for their own poor decisions.  We should applaud restaurants that are so upfront with the nutritional value, or lack thereof, in their fare.

So can't we just sit back, feel thankful that the guy survived, and revel in the glorious irony of the situation?  Here's a link to the story, along with a video of paramedics hauling Mr. Triple Bypass out of the restaurant on a stretcher:

No comments:

Post a Comment