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In the many years that I've had the pleasure to walk planet Earth, one of my major priorities in life has been pursuing a never-ending quest for a delicious cheeseburger, and "the quest" has taken me all over our great country.  When I think of a delicious burger, I don't mean a burger served by a fast food chain, or a burger that just fell off the Sysco truck. What characteristics am I looking for?  I want a burger with character, sold from a restaurant with a certain flair, and above and beyond everything, must be fabricated out of the freshest ingredients available, and cooked to perfection.  As a famous politician stated, "the end justifies the means..." and such could be the motto of my search for the ultimate burger.

Photo:  Heart Attack Grill is located in an unpretentious shopping center.  The grill features indoor and outdoor seating for the hungry "patients."

Photo:   "Medic" Stacie brings a perscription of a Double-Bypass burger, and an order of Fatliner Fries to a hungry "patient."  The menu is posted on the wall behind Stacie.

Back in January, 2007, I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh show, and Rush was talking about a burger restaurant that was politically incorrect and controversial, as they featured HUGE burgers, cooked by "doctors" and served by "nurses," accompanied by a side dish, advertised  as "Fatliner Fries" cooked in real lard, and the motto of the place was "Taste worth dying for..."  Now that slogan got my attention, in a big way! Rush also mentioned that the Heart Attack Grill, of Tempe, Arizona, had stirred up controversy with the Arizona Board of Nursing, and the Center for Nursing Advocacy, in that those organizations felt that the faux nurses, e.g., the waitresses at Heart Attack Grill demean actual medical nurses, and tend to cast an unsavory light on the medical profession. Naturally, Rush considered the critics and foes of Heart Attack Grill a bunch of crackpots, and grouped them with the likes of P.E.T.A., Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, and other left-wing, outer-fringe organizations.  Sexy nurses, controversy and the like is ok with me, but what caught my attention were the phrases such as "cooked in real lard," and "taste worth dying for."  After listening to Rush's show, I knew I had to make an appointment to visit the grill.

Photo:  Look up at Heat Attack Grill's abbreviated menu, but my eyes seem to go down, and to the left... on nurse Kortnie's best assets to the far, lower left of the photo.  Ymmmmm!  Check out nurse Sherrie to the right.  Yes!!

All of the pieces were falling into place for an appointment to the grill, as I had been planning a road trip to Baja California, and Sonora, Mexico, so all I'd have to do alter my route slightly, as to re-enter the U.S.A.  at Nogales, and head north to Tempe. So after surfing the Heart Attack Grill's website, I fired off an email to Dr. Jon Basso, owner, operator, chief cook and bottle washer of the grill, and the message I sent him reads as follows:

Hey Dr. Jon!
I love your website.  I'm planning a visit to the area in March, and I will be paying a stop at your place, as I want to sample the "Quadruple Bypass Burger," but I know that I won't be able to eat all of it. You need to get your "Pro Shop" going by March, so I can purchase a T-shirt, and have my photo taken next to one of your "nurses" with my Quadruple burger and the fries cooked in lard in front of me.  Yeah!  I can hardly wait!  I first heard of your restaurant on the
Rush Limbaugh show.  Since then, I've been surfing your website and drooling over your burgers... not to mention your "nurses."  I can't wait!  Here I come!  I'm getting hungry..."  

Photo:   Dr. Jon Basso, shows the camera his most "medical" pose for my digital camera.

Photo:  A peek into the spotlessly clean "operating room" of Dr. Jon's Heart Attack Grill.

Dr. Jon published my letter on his website on January 19, 2007, and introduced it with these words:  "We received an email from sportsman Eric Rench of Eric's Adventures and Expeditions who is making preparations for an excursion to the Grill."  Dr. Jon answered my email with the following message:  "Thanks for the kind words. I really do appreciate your support in light of all the headaches we've had to deal with from the politically correct nut jobs out there. When you get here I'll be honored to perform a Double Bypass on you! Hey if you'd like to, sign up for our Angus Club Newsletter. That way we can stay in touch."  You bet I signed up for their Angus Club Newsletter!  My "appointment" to Heart Attack Grill was now etched in stone.

Photo:  Heart Attack Grill's hungry "patients" enjoying their "prescriptions" and the wonderful medical prowess of the "nurses."

Photo:  Nurse Stacie shows her lovely assets, as nurse Sherrie makes change.  Note the television, tuned to ESPN, and the American flag, in the upper right-hand corner of the photo.  Not to mention the many happy diners.

Photo:  My buddy and dining companion Jim, a seasoned "patient," who helped guide me through "medical procedures" encountered at the Heart Attack Grill.

Please keep in mind that the "medical staff" of the Heart Attack grill, including the surgeons, nurses, paramedics and medics aren't certified medical personnel, nor do they have any medical training, and this is truly a fun, tongue-in-cheek parody of a real, medical clinic.  The waitresses are dressed in sexy, exaggerated, faux-nurse uniforms, and they aren't meant to degrade, impersonate, or demean the medical professionals that they represent.  Dr. Jon states on the grill's website:  "The use of the word "Nurse" is only intended as a parody.  None of the women pictured on our website actually have any medical training, nor do they attempt to provide any real medical services.  It should me made clear that the Heart Attack Grill and its employees do NOT offer any therapeutic treatments (aside from laughter) whatsoever."  Well spoken, Dr. Jon!

Photo:  Oh boy, "Medic" Stacie brings me my "prescription" with a sexy smile.  Thank goodness for "medics!"

After touring the wilds of northern Mexico and southern Arizona, my appointment at the grill started on Friday, March 16, 2007, at 1130 in the morning.  I walked into the grill and the first thought that came into my mind, was, simply, WOW!

True to the clinic that it is, the interior of the Heart Attack Grill is painted "Insane Asylum white," which tips the patient off that the clinic is spotlessly clean, which it is... really.  Your eye is immediately focused on the raised floor above the bar, with mirrors on the wall, and the simple, photo-illustrated menu above the bar, or are your eyes drawn to the "nurses?"  You'll also notice that the patrons, errrr, "patients," are about 98% male, composed of hungry carnivores, enjoying their delicious prescriptions, as they are attended to by the nurses and medics.  You'll also notice a couple of strategically-place big-screen televisions, that feature, what else?  Sports programming... Yeah!!  ...such a nice touch...

Photo:   Dr. Jon gives the author's heat a complementary "pre-operation" check-up before the author begins to take his "prescription."

Photo:  "Nurse" Kortnie displays a Triple-Bypass burger for the author's digital camera.  If you can complete the procedure by eating this gigantic, tasty burger, "nurse" Kortnie, or one of the other "nurses" on duty, will wheel you to your car in a wheelchair

Photo:  Ah, here's a close-up photo of one of "Nurse" Kortnie's most beautiful assets... Talk about eye candy!!!

Photo:  After that amazing photo of the good "nurse's" assets, now that I'm thouroughly hungry, I thought I'd show a close-up photo of a "Triple Bypass" burger. Could you eat this massive burger?   Could you even attempt to eat this mountain of meat, onions, cheese, bacon and buns?  I couldn't, as that's why I wimped-out and chose a "Double-Bypass" burger.  Editor's note:  During my September, 2012 visit to Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, I managed to eat about 75% of a "Quadrupal Bypass" burger, along with the "Fatliner" fries... The link is at the end of this article. This is a "Triple-Bypass" burger, complete with 1-1/2 of hamburger, lots of cheese, onions and tomatoes, and packs something like 3000 calories and who knows how many grams of fat.  This burger is a scourge to P.E.T.A., vegetarians, communists, Kim Jong-il, who currently is the crazy dictator of North Korea, Taliban wannabees, graffiti artists, terrorists, Greenpeace thugs, tree huggers, the Sierra Club, and environmental-crazy people everywhere.  Oh yes, I'll include the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama...  true socialists, who desire to morph Our Great Country into a  left-wing, socialist state, using the socialistic state of Canada as a role model.  Not to mention lunitic feminists, nurse advocates, anti-abortion critics, and just about anybody who harbors a grudge against society.  However to lovers of fine burgers, and regular guys like I am, it's true burger paradise, and Dr. Jon is the king of burgers!

Heart Attack Grill's photo illustrated menu above the bar is simple, straight forward, and simply to the point, as they offer only Single, Double, or Triple-Bypass burgers, but a Quadruple-Bypass burger can be gladly arranged, if the patient can accommodate such an operation.  After surfing their website, and being directed to the clinic by former patients, many sportsmen attempt to accommodate a quad, and one hero, by the name of Joey Chestnut consumed over two pounds of a quad in a record time of 1 minute, 47 seconds.  Hail to Joey, the King of Carnivores!  OK, I got a little off the point, but I wanted acknowledge Joey's great feat.  Besides the burgers, the only sides offered at Heart Attack Grill are Fatliner Fries, and as the menu states, the fries are cooked in real lard. If you're thirsty, the menu offers Arizona Ice Tea, served in a can, and bottled Coca-Cola, imported from Mexico with real sugar, and bottled 7-Up.  Bottled beer is also offered in the form of Bud Light, Corona or Kiltlifter. If you really want to be a bad boy, you can purchase Camel, Lucky Strike or Marlboro cigarettes during your appointment at the grill.

Photo:  Golly... before eating my burger and Fatliner fries, I had to pose with "nurse" Kortnie, before beginning my "procedure."

Everybody in the grill is happy, as both the "patients" and the "medical staff" are wearing huge smiles, and are engaged in pleasant conversation, friendly banter, but most of all, are in the procedure of enjoying their prescription.  The "nurses" do not take orders, instead they order "prescriptions."  The burgers are not grilled by cooks, as they're prepared, according to medical procedure, by "surgeons."  Heart Attack Grill does not have a kitchen, instead it's a "clinic" where prescriptions are prepared and filled.  I have never been to such a fun and friendly medical installation in my life before.  Loud, nostalgic rock 'n roll music plays in the background, which adds to the "party" or festive atmosphere of this unique, medical, clinic.

Photo:  Naturally, before taking my "prescription" I had to see where the ingredients came from.  From Kortnie? This is a very, straight-forward medical procedure; however, for some strange reason, I enjoyed it, unlike more conventional visits to the doctor.

You walk in, and after overcoming "sensory overload," you seat yourself at the bar, or one of the tables, and you're immediately greeted by one of the "nurses."  I had the pleasure of being "examined" by "medic" Stacie, who greeted me with a smile that almost melted me, and handed me my prescription.  Yes, I had planned on ordering a Quadruple-Bypass, and maybe trying to beat King Joey at his game, but I knew that my quest was hopeless, so I wimped-out and ordered a Double-Bypass burger, an order of Fatliner Fries, and a Bud Light.  I sat next to my buddy Jim, a longtime "patient" of the grill, and he suggested a few "procedures" and offered to capture them on my digital camera.  Who could refuse a "prescription" like that?

In maybe 10 minutes, "medic" Stacie brought my "prescription" to me.  As she placed it in front of me, she asked me if I was "man" enough to take it.  As I sat, somewhat sensory-challenged over the whole situation, my buddy Jim suggested that I undergo a "medical checkup" before taking my "prescription."  He suggested Dr. Jon, who I'd been wanting to meet as part of my visit, as per our correspondence via email two months prior to my visit to his fine medical institution.  I spotted Dr. Jon, consulting with other "patients" and made an appointment for a "check-up," and soon the good doctor was over to give me a complimentary medical "checkup" before taking my "prescription."  I passed my "check-up," but buddy Jim suggested that I examine the "prescription" and that "nurse" Kortnie would be able to assist me in this medical procedure.

Photo:  OK, I had to check out to see that the medicine was fresh and reasonably intact.  I had to borrow Dr. Jon's stethoscope to ensure that this medical procedure was performed correctly and that the results were correct. Thank goodness that "nurse" Kortnie helped me perform the procedure, and she seemed to enjoy it!

Now I've heard lots of scary tales of Mad Cow Disease and such, so I'm very particular about how fresh my beef is, and how tender and fresh it really is.  Now buddy Jim suggested me that I give my beef a test, prior to eating, to make sure it met the aforementioned criteria.  He suggested that I make an "appointment" with nurse Kortnie, as she is a "specialist" in these medical procedures.  So I called nurse Kortnie over, and explained to her my dilemma, and she offered to perform the "medical tests" to make sure the prescription was to my liking.  The "procedure" consisted of the following:

a)  Size the prescription to make sure it is fresh, healthy, tasty, and sanitary
b)  Test the prescription, to make sure it is fresh, and has a pulse
c)  Tenderize the prescription

I followed my buddy Jim's recommendations, and I can attest that my "prescription" turned out with satisfactory results.  The only side affect was that my blood pressure rose to about 180 lbs, but a bath of ice water after my "prescription" was fulfilled took care of the only side effect encountered from my "appointment" to the grill.

Photo:  Now that I had certified that the prescription had been administered correctly, Dr. Jim advised me to "tenderize" the prescription before undergoing the procedure.  It took a lot of courage and intestinal fortitude from me, but I finally was able to fulfill my prescription.  Dr. Jon supervised the operation and pronounced it as successful.

Dr. Jon makes no bones that his "position" don't cater to health nuts, vegans, or other lunatics that reside to the left of the center line, as his burgers feature juicy, freshly-made, in-house patties of beef, beefsteak tomato slices, red onion slices, cheddar cheese, bacon slices, all piled on freshly-baked buns.  This food is fresh, and made, in-house, on-site, not some of that refrigerated stuff that has just been unloaded from a Sysco truck.  If you're looking for a heat lamp, a freezer or a walk-in cooler, those amenities won't be found at Heart Attack Grill, as the grill's "provisions" feature freshly-ground Angus beef, seared oven an open flame, by "surgeons" that are a master at their profession, and served to hungry "patients" by sexy, accommodating, "nurses."

After ensuring that my "prescription" was "medically correct," it was time to digest it.  Your prescription arrives to you "Sally Rand..."  I'm dating myself... need I say, somewhat naked?  Fear not, as there are squeeze bottles of mustard, ketchup, A-1 Steak Sauce and a "special sauce" that Dr. Jon recommended, err, "prescribed" to accompany my Double-Bypass prescription.  When you're prescribed "medicine" as good as you'll encounter at Heart Attack Grill, why dilute the "medicine" with ketchup of mustard?  I chose only to "medicate" my "précising" with some of the "special sauce."

Photo:  "Nurse" Sherry explains the Double-Bypass "procedure" to a hungry "patient" before he undergoes the operation.

OK, my fellow carnivore... forget the sex appeal, the camaraderie, the beer, the "nurses" and concentrate on the burger.  In my case, I ordered a Double Bypass Burger, an order of Fatliner Fries, and a Bud Light.  The burger and fries arrived in a basket, with a plastic knife holding the burger together.  I have a pretty big mouth, and I'm not a quiet person, but there was no way that I could get my mouth around the double.  What about a quad?  Yikes!! Being the methodical type that I am, I simply but the burger into small, pie-shaped pieces and ate it, one layer at a time.  That's class...

What about the fries cooked in lard?  Well, they arrived coarsely cut, with the peel left on, which is just the way I like my fries.  They were cooked to a crunchy, golden brown on the outside, yet are tender on the inside, and will remind the "patient" of the first fries that grandma served them.  These fries are so yummy, that I left ketchup ff my "prescription," as these fries are "stand-alone" quality. Maybe it's the lard, maybe it's the medical skill of the "surgeons," maybe it's the... what?

I've been chasing the elusive ultimate burger for 50-something years, and I can tell you, without reservation that Heart Attack Grill SERVES THE BEST COMMERCIAL BURGER THAT I'VE EVER EATEN.  Period.  Nada mas para decir.  End of statement.  La fin d'histoire. Das endgültige Ende.

Photo:  Patient Kurt undergoes a birthday operation, and he's helped by "nurses" from the left, Medic Stacie, nurse Sherry, and nurse Kortnie.  Kurt remarked to me that he'd never had such a happy birthday.  Way to go, dude!

If you have a special request to your "prescription," all you have to do is to make a request to one of the "nurses." A fellow diner, Kurt, seated next to me was celebrating a 39-and-holding birthday, and after I alerted the willing "nurses" to his urgent "medical need," they were able to perform an "emergency procedure" on the dude, and present him the perfect "prescription" what will no doubt keep his blood pressure in check, for many years to come.

Photo:  Here's my "prescription" of a Bud Light, Fatliner Fries, cooked in lard, and a Double-Bypass burger.  This thing is huge and contains 1 pound of juicy hamburger.  I cut it into pie-shaped wedges with the knife, although I observed some guys use other methods to eat their "prescriptions."

Even if you're not interested in the "nurses" or the politically-incorrect atmosphere of the Heart Attack Grill, go for the burger, as their burgers are the best I've ever tasted.  Mere words or photos can't describe how juicy, delicious and perfectly-grilled there burgers are.  Caveat Emptor:  In the words of Dr. Jon, "Don't eat here every day, as our burgers aren't healthy."  OK Dr. Jon, your burgers may not be healthy, but they're simply... DELICIOUS!

My recommendation?  Highly, highly, and, did I say ... very highly recommended?

Update:  As of May, 2011, the Tempe, Arizona location of Heart Attack Grill is closed.  The restaurant has relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, and is alive, well, and serving delicious burgers, using the same "naughty" format. Check out my September, 2012 visit to Las Vegas Heart Attack Grill, but clicking on the hyperlink.

Heart Attack Grill
440 West Warner Road
Tempe, Arizona 85284-2966
480 705-9400

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