‘Heart Attack Grill’ Owner Proudly Displays Dead Customer’s Remains on TV

The Vegas-based restaurateur says he wants you to know his food kills — so that maybe you'll stop eating junk.

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Joshua Lott / Reuters

Heart Attack Grill owner Jon poses with a quadruple bypass cheese burger in Chandler, Arizona June 17, 2009. The restaurant is known for its hospital theme and triple and quadruple bypass burgers.

The Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill makes no bones about the danger its offerings pose to customers. The restaurant’s name warns diners what to expect if they eat what’s on the menu, and the grill’s 10,000 calorie ‘Quadruple Bypass Burger’ conveys a similarly ominous message. Now, the establishment’s owner has taken his campaign to prove his food’s lethality to the next level by displaying a dead customer’s cremated remains on live television.

On Thursday, Jon Basso, Heart Attack Grill’s well-spoken founder, appeared on Bloomberg’s In the Loop with Betty Liu to discuss his restaurant’s deadly fare. “I’m probably the only restaurateur in the entire world who is unapologetically telling you that my food is bad for you, that it will kill you, and you should stay away from it,” said Basso.

He then revealed a clear plastic bag filled with a powder-like substance. “I’m here with the cremated remains of someone who died at my restaurant. He died of a heart-attack at my restaurant, and I’m putting the bag  clearly on the table. I wish that Burger King, McDonalds, and everyone else would do the same thing.”

“John, wait… hold on one second,” sputtered a clearly shocked Liu. “This is getting a little grim. You’re saying you have the actual cremated remains of someone who died at your restaurant?”

“Absolutely,” replied Basso, “because the entire fast-food industry is pretty grim.”

While the cremation stunt may represent new ground for the Heart Attack Grill founder, Basso’s efforts to promote the danger his food poses are nothing new. The restaurateur, who is known for wearing a doctor’s outfit to highlight his food’s medical consequences, has previously bragged that those who dine at his grill are the “avant-garde of risk takers.” He even offers customers weighing 350 pounds or more the option to eat for free. It should then come as no surprise that multiple customers have died at the grill, including two spokespeople, and that one man was wheeled away in a stretcher after trying to finish a burger.

But according to Basso, he’s just trying to teach people a lesson about healthy eating in an industry averse to honestly.

“The end result of our eating habits is all around us,” Basso told an incredulous Liu. “It’s an obesity epidemic that is killing the world.”

“Do I want others to die at my restaurant? No. Actually I want to wake up one morning and open the door and have no one ever come in again, because maybe the world would have learned the truth,” added the owner. “Now, I make good money joking about how bad my food is. But at least I’m honest.”

However, Liu wasn’t buying the sales pitch. “It’s not a joke,” the anchor shot back. “You have people actually dying from your food, John. I mean, isn’t there some responsibility here?”

Watch the entire interview Bloomberg interview: