Published February 17, 2012
The restaurant owner of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas where a patron recently suffered an apparent heart attack while eating a 6,000 calorie Triple Bypass Burger defended his place as a freedom-loving establishment based on values our nation's "Founding Fathers intended us to live" by.
Speaking on Fox and Friends Friday morning Jon Basso says his restaurant isn't just a place to get artery clogging meals, like the Triple Bypass.
"What it's all about is a place where you can live the way our Founding Fathers intended us to live, and that is by our own accord," he said.
Inside the theme restaurant there are "doctors" and ''nurses" -- staff dressed up in white coats and nurses hats -- and health warnings on the walls. Diners are given surgical gowns to wear while they choose items like "Bypass" burgers, "Flatliner" fries and buttermilk shakes.
On Saturday, a customer was stricken with an apparent heart attack while eating the Triple Bypass Burger. The man was carted away by paramedics and is reportedly now recovering.
But this week a Washington, D.C.-based anti-meat advocacy group asked Basso to shut down after the episode. Officials for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said Thursday they sent a letter to Basso asking him to "declare moral bankruptcy" and close the restaurant.
Susan Levin, the group's director of nutrition education, says the incident should be a wake-up call that bypass operations aren't funny.
But Basso shot back, saying there are groups and governmental organizations that want to tell us what do to -- and worse, what to eat.
"There are intrusive busy-body groups that want to take away our right to have a simple hamburger, a coke, some fries and enjoy our lives the way we want to," he said.
Basso has no plans to close the restaurant.
When asked, he could not say exactly how many calories are in his Triple Bypass Burger, adding: "It's totally against everything we believe in to count calories."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.