The Heart Attack Grill
As I’m frequently lugging a bag full of hipsterish sarcasm and post-collegiate debt downtown, I’m always looking for a good opportunity to go off the beaten path and out of the heat for a bit. Today was no different, except I happened upon something I thought only existed on the Food Network: the Heart Attack Grill. Started by a morbidly obese (I mean that- he’s dead now) entrepreneur from Arizona, land of the Republican party and some of the highest fat to person ratios in the world. After taking a few obligatory snapshots of the “350lbs or More Eat Free” sign, I stumbled in and was immediately given a hospital gown to wear. With an introduction like that, I had to see what the fuck this was all about.
Menu: Steak N Shake with an emphasis on the bad kind of cholesterol. Setting: Steak N Shake with an emphasis on tacky and unhealthy. People: Who do you think? The ambiance felt 100% engineered to piss me off, and the all-female staff has to put up with all the ass-grabbing and boob-grazing the old men here care to put them through for a tip. At least it doesn’t have mirrors to look up their skirts like at the original location (ugh, just ugh) nor does it have quite the dedicated patronage. After explaining my skepticism to who would become my server, I donned the tiny gown and scoured the menu for something non-toxic.
A Butterfat shake. A goddamn, motherfucking Butterfat shake. A shake made proudly with pure sugar and heavy cream, adorned with a pat of butter on the crest of it’s 2000 calorie whipped cream crown. Ironically (or not, since this IS the Heart Attack Grill) it’s the cheapest item on the menu at $5- minus tax, of course, since the government is full of big fat pigs who take too much for their own obese mouths. Wait, what? Moving on.
On a painfully unrelated note, the food is pretty decent. Sure, it’s a restaurant founded by a man now dead from complications arising from weighing over a quarter ton, but it’s done well, even if horribly predictably. My assigned hostess/waitress/eye-candy was a cute young girl with bright lipstick and a demeanor somewhere between Hooter’s and my local watering hole. Probably too smart and definitely too hip to be working here, but such is the economy, and so I’m left feeling torn between tipping her $20 if she promises to go to grad school or leaving $1.08 and my phone number like I imagine many of her clients have done. Poor girl- it feels like the owner is Jabba the Hutt and this slave-girl Princess Leia doesn’t deserve the leers and cat calls. Mood: :(. (That’s Internet for “sad”.)
Seriously, I last took a gut-wrenching sip of this “shake” ten minutes ago and my mouth still has the stank of butter retching from it and merely glancing at it makes me physically I’ll. What am I doing here? Why did I order this? OH MY GOD THE NOW-DEAD FOUNDER IS ON THE TV AND JUST SAID “This may shrink your penis and decrease the amount of sex you get”! This, my friends, is what this great country is about. As the cute sex-nurse mops up a spill with Windex and paper towels, it dawns on me that this place is no different from anywhere else, it just chooses to capitalize on it’s own dumbass demographic without a lick on irony or tact. The infomercial-styled commercials restate, without any alteration, the very real dangers of eating EXACTLY what this place makes and the eager gullets of the over-50 patrons jiggle with laughter, unknowing of the visceral terror they are literally seeing, doing and paying for.
Cute nurse just asked why I haven’t finished my shake- BECAUSE I’M A GODDAMN HUMAN, NOT A COW, THAT IS WHY. It would be absolutely ludicrous to expect someone to finish this anywhere else but the state fair, yet they sell gallons of the stuff, so somebody MUST be buying- what a delightfully horrific thought. That’s the dichotomy of the Heart Attack Grill: you love to hate it, and it hates you right back. For $7.98/burger.
Welp, I’ll likely never return. This was a fun way to spend an hour uselessly downtown, and my server was patient enough for me to write this, but I like my blood pressure just the way it is, thank you very much. But then again, this isn’t a place for jaded, cynical and hacked-ass writer like me, it’s for the Marine veteran across the room living in the singular moment of pleasure that is biting into a burger made to be physically detrimental to your health. It’s for the fat guy who doesn’t get respect anywhere else but here for being a gluttonous hog. It’s for the kids who totally lose their shit at the prospect of a full pound of French fries for dinner.
It’s for America, y’all.