Heart Attack Grill icon dies - of heart attack

Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 00:00

Las Vegas is mourning the passing of John Alleman (52), whose unpaid devotion to touting for customers for the city’s Heart Attack Grill (motto: Taste . . . worth dying for!) made him known to many.

He suffered a heart attack on the pavement outside the restaurant. “He lived a very full life,” said owner Jon Basso. “He will be missed. . . He lived, ate and breathed the Heart Attack Grill.”

The restaurant, which is just off Las Vegas Boulevard, specialises in unhealthy living. Its menu includes the aptly named Quadruple Bypass Burger, four burgers stacked high in a bun sandwich, each burger wrapped in up to eight strips of bacon, the entire pile oozing mayonnaise and grease. It reputedly contains a whopping 9,982 calories and costs $12.94.

While Alleman was not employed by the Heart Attack, he was intimately involved with it. Every day since the restaurant opened in October 2011, he would stand outside coaxing customers in. When he wasn’t working as a security guard on the city’s famous strip, he was at the grill, drumming up business outside or eating burgers inside.

Alleman is the second unofficial restaurant spokesman to die. In March 2011, Blair River – known as the grill’s “Gentle Giant” – died of flu-related pneumonia. He weighed 575lb and was aged 29.

In February 2012, a customer was stricken with what was believed to be a heart problem while eating a Triple Bypass Burger.

Alleman weighed 180lb and, said Basso, had a genetic predisposition for cardiac problems. While he agreed the death was a “wake-up call”, he wasn’t sounding reveille just yet. “The grill is where you can be yourself. We accept people as they are,” said Basso. “People have got to live their lives.” Or not . . .