A customer of Heart Attack Grill suffered a cardiac arrest in the chain’s Las Vegas branch on last Saturday.
An onlooker captured video of paramedics wheeling the unidentified man, thought to be in his 40’s, out of the fast-food diner.
The diner was midway through eating a 6,000-calorie Triple Bypass Burger when he began experiencing chest pains.
Heart Attack Grill – founded in 2005 using the catchphrase “Taste Worth Dying For!” – is run by a former nutritionist “Doctor” Jon Basso who, remarkably, used to run a Jenny Craig weight loss diet centre.
Jon Basso denied the incident was an elaborate publicity stunt.
He told Fox News: “The gentleman could barely talk. He was sweating, suffering.
“I actually felt horrible for him because the tourists were taking photos of him as if it were some type of stunt.
“Even with our own morbid sense of humor, we would never pull a stunt like that.”
The Heart Attack Grill sells calorie-laden fare with names such as Quadruple Bypass Burgers and Flatline Fries.
Meals at Heart Attack Grill can exceed 8,000 calories, as the recommended daily intake is 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.
The Triple Bypass Burger contains three slabs of meat, 12 rashes of bacon, cheese, red onion, sliced tomato and the Heart Attack Grill’s own “unique special sauce”. And that’s before taking into account the accompanying “Flatliner Fries”, cooked in pure lard, and a giant soft drink.
Accentuating the medical theme, waitresses dressed as nurses deliver the artery-clogging food.
A sign at the entrance to an Arizona restaurant reads: “Go away. If you come in this place, it’s going to kill you.”
Heart Attack Grill has provoked widespread anger with promotions including offering free food to morbidly obese customers.
In an exploitative advertising campaign, the restaurant announced that it would pick up the bill for any patron who weighed more than 350 lbs.
Jon Basso hired a 644-lb man, Blair Rivers, to star in a tongue-in-cheek commercial promoting the special offer.
In the ad, Jon Basso says with a smile: “I personally guarantee a stable upward progression of body weight while you’re enjoying great tasting foods.
“Along with a cold beer and cigarette, it’s a diet you can stick to for life.”
The advertisement then states the side effects from eating Heart Attack Grill food “may include sudden weight gain, repeated increase of wardrobe size, back pain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, lung cancer, tooth decay and liver sclerosis stroke.
“In some cases mild death may occur.”