A daily customer and unofficial mascot for the Heart Attack Grill, a Las Vegas diner infamous for its calorie-laden menu and waitresses in nurse garb, has died of an apparent heart attack, the latest in a string of incidents that evoke the restaurant's ominous name.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, 52-year-old John Alleman died Monday after collapsing last week as he waited at a bus stop in front of the Fremont Street restaurant.
Although he was never on the payroll, Alleman had been a faithful patron since the restaurant opened in October 2011, owner Jon Basso told the paper. He inspired a "Patient John" caricature on the Heart Attack Grill's menu, clothing line and merchandise.
Alleman is the Heart Attack Grill's second unofficial spokesman to die. In March 2011, 575-pound Blair River - known as the Grill's "Gentle Giant" - died of flu-related pneumonia.
In February 2012, a man was hospitalized with an apparent heart problem after chowing down a 6,000-calorie Triple Bypass Burger. Two months later, a woman suffered from a similar medical problem while reportedly eating a Double Bypass Burger.
The eatery's slogan is "a burger to die for." It gives free meals to people who weigh more than 350 pounds, and a sign reads "Caution: This establishment is bad for your health," notes the Associated Press.
The 8,000-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger, with four half-pound beef patties, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato and half an onion served in a lard-coated bun, has been called one of the "world's worst junk foods." Other menu items include butterfat milkshakes and "flatliner fries" cooked in lard.
After the first incident, the AP reports, the Washington, D.C.-based Officials for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said they sent a letter to the Heart Attack Grill's owner, asking him to "declare moral bankruptcy" and close the restaurant.
Although Basso told the Sun that Alleman's death was a "wake-up call," he said it won't stop him from touting such calorific foods.
"The grill is where you can be yourself. We accept people as they are," Basso told the paper. "(Alleman's death) isn't going to stop us from what we're doing. People have got to live their lives."