Heart Attack Grill Owner Thinks He's Running 'Obesity Intervention' Program


Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso had a pretty intense interview over on Eater Las Vegas with writer Susan Stapleton on its ongoing series "One Year In," and while the restaurant hasn't had the best press (two heart attacks in the restaurant), owner Jon Basso isn't really backing down.

Basso talks about his time as a physical fitness instructor, getting sued by a hamburger chain (he never mentions the name, but says his fitness studio was called In and Out workout studios), and realizing that fitness instructors are "slimy, crooked, dishonest peddler[s] of health." So nowadays? His Heart Attack Grill is like an intervention. The best parts are below:

On Obesity Prevention: "But the thing is if we've all failed, let's take a different approach. This is like an intervention back in the day when people had a drug or alcohol problem and their family would all crowd in a room, grandma would start waving their finger, you're an alcoholic or you're a drug addict, the person would break down and cry and hopefully that was going to change their life. Well, that's what I'm doing here."

On How it Works: "We're steps away from a huge cattle scale and anybody who's over 350 pounds gets on that scale. We applaud them, like the big sumo wrestler they are, treat them like a champ, make them feel good for that moment, give them free food all they want. But these people go home at night and they ponder that and say, 'Wow, why did I just get free food and have the whole restaurant applauding for me? Because I'm a freak.' Plain and simple."

On the Calorific Menu: "It's very offensive to people. We are trying to be offensive. You'd be a very callous individual if you find nothing on the menu offensive."

On the Best Item to Order: "The double bypass. We're the home of the double bypass. You don't want to order more than that. I think most people want to order a single bypass but they don't want to be viewed as wimps. The butterfat shake. Our Jell-O shots are great. We do a very, very strong Jello-O shot in syringes."


Head on over to Eater for the full (lengthy) interview.