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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Heart Attack Grill: Killing customers and laughing all the way to the bank

The food is free if you're over 350 pounds. The burgers are named the single, double, triple, and quadruple bypass. The shakes are made of butterfat. If you think it sounds like some Hollywood conceived nightmare, think again. It's the real thing. It's the Heart Attack Grill.

First opened in Arizona in 2005, it opened Friday, May 13 (how apropos) in Dallas, TX. Some call it a gimmick. But it's more than that. It's a scary invitation to eat yourself to the grave and people are signing up for the ride.

The "brains" behind this operation is Jon Bosso, who calls himself Dr. Jon. He used to own a series of Jenny Craig's. He wanted to make changes to help his clients but was not allowed by corporate. So he flew the coop and open HAG. He claims that the place is somehow shock therapy to help people see just how bad overeating can be.

I not only doubt that. I don't believe it all all. My guess is that there's more money in catering to people's weaknesses than trying to help them overcome. Not that the latter is his responsibility. But do we really want to contribute to the obesity epidemic in any way? Perceived or otherwise?

Customers have to wear hospital gowns. The waitresses are dressed like nurses on a porn set. And Bosso is dressed as a doc, of course. There's a blood pressure machine and a massive scale in the restaurant, as well as a wheelchair. Why the wheelchair you ask?

Apparently if you finish a tripe or quadruple bypass burger, a "private" nurse will wheel you to your car.

Also on the menu are unfiltered cigarettes and flatliner fries. Fried in lard, but of course. It might be funny if these things were on the menu but no one actually ordered them. But that's all that's on the menu and people certainly are ordering them.

I suppose Mr. Bosso has the right to open the Heart Attack Grill. But it sure would be nice if folks felt at least the teensiest bit of social responsibility. Does anyone really need to be adding to the world's problems?

After meeting Bosso, I feel even more sure of the insidiousness of this enterprise. The man is not jovial about what he's created. He's perfectly pleased with himself.  Smug, in fact.

And there's something almost haughty and self-possessed about the guy as he strides through the aisles praising the massive customers. You can almost see him rubbing his hands together, throwing his head back, and letting out an evil "Ah ha ha ha" like some character from an old B horror film.

It all comes down the question of whether you use your powers for good rather than evil. You have to wonder when the last time was that the guy took a long, hard look in the mirror. I'd like to think that if he knew this wasn't a joke, maybe he'd reconsider. But I doubt it.

If you happen to be reading this, Mr. Bosso, I have a question for you. You already killed your spokesperson. (At 29. And Bosso admitted to being part of his death.) Who's next?

For more on the Dallas opening, read The Heart Attack Grill is Open, and It's Even More Terrible Than We Imagined on the Dallas Observer blog City of Ate.

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