I’d LOVE to post a blog about the end of heart attacks. Alas, I cannot. This blog is about the end of the Heart Attack Grill. It comes just two months after the death of Blair River. He was the 575 lb spokesman for the restaurant who died at age 29. That’s not exactly a glowing endorsement…is it?
Here’s an CBS Sunday Morning interview from better days…
(Courtesy of Edythe Jensen – Arizona Republic)
The Heart Attack Grill is closed.
The Chandler restaurant that got national attention for its calorie-laden fare and waitresses dressed in provocative nurse outfits closed without any announcement about two weeks ago, said Greg Stanfield, owner of the nearby Regal Beagle bar.
Although a sign on the grill’s door and a notice on the website say the restaurant is undergoing remodeling, efforts to reach the owner, Jon Basso, were unsuccessful. The business’ phone is disconnected; so is the number listed for Basso’s Carefree home.
The door sign and website notice say the restaurant will reopen June 15 and that it is “having challenges with the city over our building’s exterior color.” The building is red and white; the rest of the strip shopping center once anchored by a now-vacant Bashas’ grocery store is tan.
Chandler building inspector Mike DeWys said his office received an anonymous complaint about alleged construction activity at the site at 6185 W. Chandler Boulevard a short time ago. An inspector sent to the location found evidence of painting, he said, and the inspector’s report notes “issue of building color and landscaping have not been resolved.” There is no record in city files that Heart Attack Grill has building permits for remodeling or that the city issued any citations for unpermitted construction activity.
Stanfield said Heart Attack Grill customers and employees were regular patrons at his Regal Beagle, and he was under the impression that the closure is permanent.
The news comes two months after the sudden death of Heart Attack Grill’s 575-pound spokesman, Blair River. Just 29, River was the face – and body – of the unabashedly unhealthy restaurant that featured burgers with names like the Quadruple Bypass Burger – a sandwich with four beef patties – and French fries cooked it lard. Anyone who weighed more than 350 pounds got a free meal, but they had to step on the restaurant’s scale to prove it.
Following River’s death in March, Basso vowed to keep the restaurant open and pay tribute to his friend without changing the menu or toning down the glorification of obesity. The cause of River’s death was not released but friends said he developed pneumonia after contracting the flu.
Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger, who owns several small restaurants, said the recession has been tough dining establishments and the negative publicity from River’s death has likely hurt the Heart Attack Grill.
“These are tough times and this is a really tough business. Just when you start thinking you’re going to come out on the other side, all of a sudden your purveyor raises prices,” the councilman said.