The Heart Attack Grill was founded in 2005 by Jon Basso with the declared intent of serving "nutritional pornography", food "so bad for you it's shocking". The idea came when writing a marketing thesis about fitness training studios, as he became inspired by stories about his clients cheating on their diets.
One of the restaurant's promotions is a reward for customers who finish a Triple or Quadruple Bypass Burger, after which they are placed on a wheelchair and wheeled out to their vehicle by their "personal nurse". Heart Attack Grill has deliberately courted controversy as a marketing strategy. The restaurant has been criticized and drawn complaints for its portrayal of nurses.
The Quadruple Bypass Burger with 8,000 Calories (33 MJ) has been identified as one of the "world's worst junk foods". It consists of four half-pound beef patties, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato and half an onion served in a bun coated with lard. The restaurant was featured on an episode of Extreme Pig-outs on the Travel Channel and on a CBS report with Bill Geist.