John Alleman visited the Heart Attack Grill so often, the restaurant designed an entire line of clothing featuring a cartoon of its beloved "Patient Joe," and placed his face front and center on their menu. Now the restaurant reports via its Facebook page that its most loyal patron has passed away at age 52, from a heart attack.
The nighttime construction site security guard was never officially on the restaurant's payroll, but he was such a fixture at the Downtown Las Vegas restaurant, encouraging passersby to come in, he came to be known as its unofficial spokesman.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Alleman suffered a heart attack while waiting for a bus in front of the restaurant, which boasts highly caloric menu items such as the 9,982 calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger, Butterfat Milkshakes and Coronary Dogs.
Alleman remained at Sunrise Hospital until his brother Paul, his only surviving relative, made the decision to remove him from life support on Monday. Alleman passed away soon after.
A statement on the restaurant's Facebook page read, "To all who've given hopes and prayers for John's struggle in the cardio vascular unit, it ended humanely this morning at 10am. Dr Andy and Dr Jon were at bedside as John slipped into the next world. WE LOVE YOU BROTHER!"
"Dr. Jon" refers to Heart Attack Grill's owner Jon Basso. He is neither a medical professional nor a stranger to controversy - or loss of his most avid fans. The restaurant's previous 575-pound spokesman, 29-year-old Blair River, died in March 2011 at the age of 29. In February 2012, the restaurant made headlines when another patron suffered a heart attack while eating a Triple Bypass Burger.
Heart Attack Grill is perhaps best known for actively courting fans and nayayers alike with slogans like "Taste worth dying for!" and "Cash only, because you might die before the check clears."
Menu items like lard-fried "Flatliner Fries," highly caloric "Butterfat Shakes" and unfiltered cigarettes abound, scantily clad female servers dressed as nurses take orders as "prescriptions," and a house policy allows diners weighing over 350 pounds to eat for free.
Basso told the Las Vegas Sun that he currently has no plans to alter the Grill's menu, though it will remain closed the day of Alleman's funeral.