The Bizarre Gimmick Behind the Heart Attack Grill

We constantly have a surfeit of new restaurants trying to grab your attention. They all want a gimmick to get noticed while they build a clientele. One of the strangest gimmicks was the Heart Attack Grill, which debuted in 2005 and got all the publicity they could possibly ask for, even more when they expanded into Las Vegas in 2011. The decor and service had a theme alright, which seemed kind of cute. Diners wear hospital gowns and are treated as "patients." Morbidly obese people can eat free. But the oversized, fat-laden meals were no joke. Neither were the actual medical incidents connected with the restaurant. The real problem seems to be the kind of diner that this restaurant attracts. Founder Jon Basso embraced the controversy, and has seen his share of legal troubles. But the Heart Attack Grill is still going strong. Its customers? Maybe not so much.

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