DALLAS -- The Chandler-based restaurant chain Heart Attack Grill opened a new location in Dallas, Texas Friday to line of diners and even protesters.
The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. Friday to a long line of people ready to try out the shamelessly high-calorie offerings. At 12:15 pm, an hour and fifteen minutes after opening, employees closed the doors, reportedly due to operating issues in the kitchen.
Dallas' David Mathemy was first in line. He arrived at 6 a.m. said he skipped breakfast to make room for a hearty lunch. He is planning on ordering a "double bypass burger" and flatline French fries, two of the signature dishes.
Protesters from Slimming World served fruit to those gathering outside the new restaurant which boasts a menu full of artery clogging food.
Protester Laurel Wright said she has lost 80 pounds eating mostly whole foods and takes issue with the Heart Attack Grill for "glorifying obesity."
"It is about moderation," said Wright. "There isn’t anything, from what I can tell, served in there that is good for you."
The medically themed restaurant allows those who weigh 350 pounds or more to eat for free. Waitresses are dressed in tight-fitting nursing uniforms. The owner, Jon Basso, calls himself Dr.Jon, although he has no medical training.
When asked about his shamelessly high calorie offerings, which can total up to 8,000 calories, Basso said, it is all about moderation.
"This is a safety valve that I recommend and I do prescribe one time per week," said Basso. "Don’t come here every week. If you do, you’re gonna die."
He said everybody needs a cheat day and that's the purpose his restaurant seeks to serve.
Heart Attack Grill spokesperson Blair River recently died of pneumonia.
He weighed in at 575 pounds and was 29-years-old when he died.
Basso said Big Ernie, the restaurant's first spokesperson is also obese. He is reportedly back on the job after he had been away after falling into a coma.
Basso said he is looking for a new spokesperson, preferably a woman.
The first Heart Attack Grill opened in Chandler, Arizona in 2005.