There are some among you, and you know who you are, who actually like the idea of being in a food coma. Indeed, food comas are generally self-induced, and getting there is more than half the fun.
But I’m over this sort of mirth, so when confronted with a business model called the Heart Attack Grill, which started in the Phoenix area, and has a branch in Dallas, I must confess I regarded the prospect the way a Prime bull regards his rite of passage to becoming a steer.
Am I not a professional? Yes, of course, and so with great hesitation but firm resolve I made the drive to Downtown Vegas, to eat my Heart Attack burger, fries and milkshake. The restaurant has a prime locality at the edge of the Fremont Street Experience; a large space filled with plasma screen TV’s and posters that exhort us to eat unhealthily.
When I entered, the “Head Nurse”, an older, but still quite attractive lady clad in a nurse’s uniform, strapped one of those triage wrist band thingies on my left wrist. I didn’t even bother to check for the “Do Not Resusciate” message on it. I assume they don’t bother.
Heart Attack Grill has received notoriety of late because a) their 600 lb. spokesperson recently died of pneumonia at the ripe old age of 29 and b) because they are advertising an 8,000 calorie burger. His name, in case you’re wondering, was Blair River. Cry me one, will ‘ya.
No, the 8,000 calories is no misprint. That burger has 20 pieces of bacon, four ½ patties, an exorbitant amount of American cheese, and lots of grilled onions fried in lard, not to mention sliced tomato. There is a bun, too, which is, in fact, pretty tasty. I don’t think they’re doing it Animal Style just yet, so rest easy, you In ‘N Out investors.
Actually, the burger, fries and milkshakes are all they sell here, beside a menu of sugary soft drinks and a full bar. When I asked for a glass of water, my comely waitress, clad in one of those Clara Barton Student Nurse uniforms that drives older Japanese men crazy, told me she was unable to comply. “We don’t serve water,” she said. “It’s too healthy.”
After she helped me into a hospital gown, you know, the kind that you lace up in the back, she took my order. I settled for a Single Bypass, a humungous half-pounder, nicely grilled, with a char crust, only 5 slices of bacon, two slices of tomato, and lots of lardy onion. It’s not bad, but I’ve had better.
I’m sorry to say I can’t give a nod to the fries, also cooked in pure lard, or the shake, which claims to have the highest butterfat content in the city, topped with a pat of butter. I’ve been told that the fries are crispy at times here. Mine were limp, and flaccid, lardy potatoes won’t cut it.
The shake, furthermore, (I chose vanilla, with chocolate or strawberry being the other two options), was sugary to the point of wretchedness. Maybe some people like this sort of fatty, tasteless suspension. I am a professional, but even I draw the line at a trip to the vomitorium.
That 8,000 calorie burger is called, not surprisingly, the Quadruple Bypass, sort of the Single Bypass times four. Perhaps Adam Richman of the Travel Channel’s “Man Versus Food” would like to visit our fair city someday to take the sandwich on. I’ll hold the bucket.
Did I mention that this concept manages to contain almost everything I dislike about American pop culture in one efficient package? Maybe I will, like The Terminator, be back. Just don’t count on it.
Heart Attack Grill. “Taste Worth Dying For.”
At the corner. of Fremont St. and Las Vegas Blvd.
Customers over 350 lbs. eat free.
A Response from a Not a Food Critic
I recently dragged a good friend to the Heart Attack Grill. I’m a burger lover, and the grill serves burgers. My overall expectations were of a hack operation sucking money from clients and serving greasy, lousy food for the experience. What I found was the exact opposite. Sort of.
Note: I have not fact checked any of this.
The Heart Attack Grill is manned by Dr. Jon, a surprisingly thin man garbed in a doctor’s coat and a stethoscope. I found the Doctor interesting and completely entertaining with a passion for his business that, as a fellow businessman, I long to see. The Doctor, it seems, used to be in the health club business. He was pushed out due to litigation by having a similar name to a large burger chain. Studying the enemy, Dr. Jon developed the Heart Attack Grill.
Not all press is good press. Having a concept that is heavily covered by the press results in very skewed results, especially if there is a ‘novelty’ approach, rather than a newsworthy one. People come out of the woodwork to lay judgement. From what I can see, Dr. Jon is either the source of all evil in the universe or owner of a great idea that needs tweaking.
I would argue the latter, not the former. Dr. Jon’s business was built by incorporating feedback from his clients. The wheelchairs to your cars? Clients. The hospital gowns? Clients. The food has definite quality, by the way. The fries are hand made with fresh potatoes. Mine were crispy and completely delightful.The meat comes from Larry’s Great Western Meats over on Valley View. The shakes, I found, were great. My friend said it was the best shake he had in a while. The burger was very good, but….
I came away thinking that I would not return soon. The problem with the Heart Attack Grill is that the concept line is too hardline and becomes an annoyance. No water and no substitutions on items. I came for a burger. The fried-in-lard onions on the burger were simply too rich for me. I prefer a sliced fresh white onion to add crunch and flavor. I agree with my friend- the shake was delicious. Once again, too rich. Four ounces would have been fine with me. I would go back for it. In a smaller portion. Without the butter pat on top.
The concept becomes part of the problem. It is fine in a tourist area such as Fremont Street. I see a much larger enterprise, however. Perhaps by allowing minor changes to the menu local folks like me would gladly return. I’m there to enjoy my food, not be dictated what to eat. The food has a quality component but the management overlooks it to remain true to the concept, which is unfortunate.
Heart Attack Grill is positioned at the end of the Fremont Street Experience and the beginning of East Fremont Entertainment District (whatever you wanna call it). The location is important, as the success of the East section is heavily reliant on getting those tourist dollars to continue their walk down Fremont. From speaking with Dr. Jon I get the idea that he is a man heavily interested in the locale of his enterprises. He lives around the block; he is up-to-date with businesses nearby. His food is primarily sourced locally. He’s concerned about possible harassment of his nurses, and he also insists that the net result of publicly dragging people to a digital scale for the ‘Over 350 pounds Eat Free’ promotion results in remorse in the morning.
This is a good place with a good burger at a good price. Don’t believe the hype. Check it out. Give feedback to the Doctor (or, should I say, Consult with the Doctor). I would love to be able to get a great burger on Fremont.
As the doctor stated to us, “The Burger is a B+ but the shake is an A+.”
I would agree. It ain’t foie gras, but it’s close.
Unicahome.com was founded in 1998 by Hugh and Bonnie Fogel. Featuring over 65,000 products, Unicahome.com is a complete lifestyle store for home, office and contract use featuring Bridal Registry, Furniture, Lighting, Accessories, Barware, Food and Great Gifts from noted designers and top brands sourced worldwide. Our 18,000 square foot store is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, just minutes away from the world famous Las Vegas Strip. We hope you enjoyed your visit to Unicaworld!