The Message Behind the Meat: Heart Attack Grill vs. In-N-Out Burger in Dallas

It’s another day in Dallas and what do you know, before you can say double-double-animal style, we have a new burger controversy on the grill. Tomorrow is supposed to be opening day for the Heart Attack Grill in the West End. A group has already planned a protest (see below). Why? Let’s refresh our memory:

Their motto? “Treating anorexia since 2005.” Their objective? “Always keeping the patient’s budget in mind, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that all your meals are absolutely free once you reach the 350 pound goal weight. Imagine the joy of knowing you’ve finally achieved something!” Their sales pitch? “Doctors agree that continually cycling body weight up and down is one of the very worst things a person can do to themselves. That’s why our program is focused upon keeping your weight in an extremely stable, gradual, and constant upward slope.”

Since I posted the arrival of Heart Attack Grill, the company’s 575-pound spokesman died. He was 29. Funny? Some people think so. Subtle? As a heart attack. Please stay with me here.

Now, let’s talk about In-N-Out Burgers, the burger chain that opened locations in Frisco and Allen yesterday. The founders and the folks behind In-N-Out Burger serve you fresh, albeit high-calorie food too. Their gimmick comes in the form of a secret menu offering double-double (two meats, two cheeses), 4X4 (four meats, four cheeses), high butterfat shakes, and fries covered in cheese. If you eat In-N-Out burgers everyday, you too can reach 350 pounds. But instead of throwing fat in your face, In-N-Out prints Bible scriptures on their packaging. Check the bottom of that soft drink cup and you’ll find Revelation 3:20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” How many times you knock on that door is up to you. Your last supper could be at either restaurant.

Funny? No. Subtle? Yes, but to some people it is disturbing. I, for one, don’t like religion literally poured down my throat.

I was walking into a Dairy Queen in East Texas one sunny afternoon and the man who was walking out said, “Hello friends. Have you found the love of Jesus this fine day?” I let it pass but my 60-year old gay friend who doubles as an atheist was offended. He made a good point. He said, “What I’d have said to him is ‘hello friend, have you found the pleasure of homosexual sex today?’” His point? Don’t “force” your views on strangers.

All of the customers lined up outside In-Out-Burger yesterday didn’t seem to mind the words of Jesus wrapped around their burgers. However, there are some local folks who are horrified at the opening of Heart Attack Grill and the message is shines toward obese customers. One is Laurel Wright.

Laurel, her husband, and her son were all overweight. They felt there was no hope and they would be fat forever. They avoided going to the doctor and tried gimmicky weight loss programs. Her husband was taking two types of insulin. After Laurel hit size 22 she started to cook and eat healthier. Since then she has dropped 80 pounds, her husband is on half of his diabetes meds, and their son is down three pant sizes. She has her own YouTube library to prove it.

“Obesity is a huge problem. You feel like you have no hope,” Wright said. “I think the message that restaurant [Heart Attack Grill] is giving obese people is disgusting.”

Wright has organized a protest across the street from Heart Attack Grill. She and her band of healthy eaters will gather at 5AM and work in shifts passing out leaflets and fresh fruit. “I want them to know that there is hope,” Wright said. “You don’t have to be encouraged or get praise for weighing 350 pounds.”

Do you want Jesus or a heart attack with those fries? Tell me, I want to know.


  • Molly

    How is this forcing religion down anyone’s throat? There is a tiny scripture reference – not even the verse itself – printed on the underneath rim of the cups and the seam of the burger wrappers. It’s the owner’s prerogative, just like in any business. No one is forcing anybody to eat/drink there. And if you do choose to eat there, you also have the choice to go home and look up the Bible passage or not…if you even notice it.

  • Mishi

    Fast-food is what it is…its not great, but I think anything in moderation is alright. The sad part with this new chain is that there are LOADS of dumb people out there who will see this marketing scheme and keep getting fat just to have free meals…especially with the way the economy is. Theyre basically helping people run themselves into an early grave. At least In&Out is real food and not chemicals and mystery meat.
    People sre freee to make up their own minds, though.
    Smart business, yes. Really messed up, YES!

  • James

    Both Chick-fil-A and Forever XXI are both Christian based companies. Forever XXI prints John 3:16 on the bottom of its shopping bags. They’re not forcing their views on anyone, merely they’re stating the values and foundation of their company. Good for In-N-Out! Give me Jesus- for He is the light and the way!

  • Steve

    LOL, first I heard anyone complain about the religious quotes!

    I mean, it’s really small! I don’t know about most people, but I don’t bother reading the small print on my wrappers or at the bottom of the glass.

  • Rachel

    Great, article; made me giggle out loud. I’m with you: Not a fan of “religion literally poured down my throat.” And as other readers have already stated, I don’t have to acknowledge the statements on my wrappers as I enjoy a delicious burger – one of my favorite foods in the world, by the way, and I’m no where close to 350, not even 150. I am not stuck only eating burgers, I can choose to eat a salad. On the same hand, learn to take a joke, people!! If you can’t see that burger joints around the world are exploiting America’s larges arses and our love for fattening greasy food, then WAKE UP! I personally, fully enjoy a great marketing gimmick that hides nothing and makes me smile at the same time.

  • Steve

    Just don’t bother going to eat there Nancy and you’ll do just fine. At least going by your review, you don’t seem inclined to like any fast food.

    I could be wrong.

    But In-N-Out Burger doesn’t shove religious views down your throat. They don’t force their employees to quote bible verses to the customers.

    Their msg behind the beef? Never frozen, always fresh. Employees who are pleasant to deal with, etc.

  • Hilare

    The subject of this article is laughable. The print of the bible verses are placed on the edge of the burger wrapper and under the bottom rim of the cup, and placed there for a reason: to be out of the view of those who don’t want to see them, and in the view of those who do. Anything in moderation is fine, and too much of anything is bad for you, especially in this day and age, right? You can’t get meat any fresher than at INO. If you’re worried about calories, stay away from the shakes and fries and you can substitute the spread for ketchup or mustard. And no one is forcing you to eat there. INO won’t be hurting for business if you choose to eat somewhere else.

  • Hilare

    And Heart Attack Grill and In-N-Out should not ever be compared. INO does not use lard, nor do they endorse obesity or have a French fry bar. Servers in nurse outfits looking for 350+ pound people to wheel to their cars vs. well treated employees who are hired on their smile, personality and required to have a clean cut look. I have only seen Heart Attack Grill on the travel channel and the concept is straight comedy. Good tv but I probably wouldn’t eat there.

  • Mike

    I agree with Mishi, In-N-Out has always been about quality. Is it a Burger Bar or Daniel Boulud level burger? Obviously for under $2 each, you’re not getting foie as a topping. But In-N-Out is fresh, well made, and in moderation, a tasty and inexpensive burger experience. For those of you bashing In-N-Out over nutrition then running over to Whatabuger for drive thru, I’d point you to each one’s posted nutritional info. Granted burger sizes differ but you order burgers by the # not by the gram.

    In-N-Out hamburger w/onion
    Serving size: 243g
    Calories: 390
    Calories from fat: 170
    Total fat: 19g
    Sat fat: 5g
    Trans fats: 0g
    Chol: 40mg
    Sodium: 650mg

    Serving weight: 323 g
    Calories: 620
    Calories from fat: 270
    Total fat: 30g
    Sat fat: 10g
    Trans fats: 0g
    Chol: 65g
    Sodium: 1262mg

    That wasn’t hard to find at all, maybe I have a career as a D Mag or DMN reporter?

    BTW: HAG IS a disgusting concept to ME but YOU should make up your own mind about that.

  • Tom

    Life is full of choices. Eat there or not. Read this or that. No one is forcing you to do anything. Do like it Sorry. Choose something else.

  • Scott

    Some people seem to have a problem with freedom of speech.

  • Robie

    I’m starting to like Nancy less and less.

  • Buck Futt

    Dear Liberals: In-N-Out is awesome, but if you don’t like it, don’t eat there. And fuck you.

  • Buck Futt

    Oh, and those asterisks stand for “eff-you-see-kay.”

  • Mishi

    Oh, and BTW…I didn’t even notice the Scriptures. I was too busy shoveling deliciousness into my mouth…the first time in 3yrs, BTW! That’s another awesome point to make for In&Out…they are allergy friendly!! No nuts on site, and if u tell them of a gluten allergy, they print it on your order tic and take complete care of everything!!

  • Twinwillow

    I couldn’t care if INO gave a bible out with every order. I’d still eat there. Hey! Are bibles on the secret menu?

  • Mike, your ingredient comparison is not the point. thank you for the research. the INO burger is 2 ounces, Wataburger significantly bigger.

    Scott, how do I have a problem with freedom of speech. I am saying something freely and asking for conversation on the topic.

  • And Butt, I love INO. And if I see Kay I will tell her.

  • The Janitor

    To BF: thank you for turning to the web scrawl on the wall – there has been far less grafitti to clean up in the loo since you found your new outlet.

  • Phil

    Nancy, you have a VERY relaxed definition of something being “shoved down your throat”.

    Was the man at Dairy Queen an employee or just a customer? Your article leads me to believe that it was simply a customer, and I’m not sure how that is relevant to corporations that advocate Christianity. How can Dairy Queen control what their customers say?

  • kb

    Dear Butt Futt — you sir (or ma’am) are an idiot. I am a Liberal for requesting that someone not put a bible verse on my food wrapping? You know nothing about my political views. I could be a conservative/GOP member of the Jewish faith.

    Yet, you are likely the same person that would pitch a fit if there was a verse from the Koran on your food. Of course, in that case, you wouldn’t be a “liberal” you’d call yourself a proud american or something like that.

    Believe it or not, not everyone is a Christian or has a Christian family and may not want bible versus, as Nancy said, literally shoved down their mouth. And, I will not patronize INO, just like I do not Forever 21. I’d rather religion be kept out of my consumption.

  • Buck Futt

    Good. I prefer my food without annoying morons; now I know at least one of them won’t be at INO.

  • Phil

    The verses on INO packaging are barely noticeable and people here consider that having it ‘shoved down their throat’? I don’t get it.

  • Jeannie

    Who are you people? You didn’t even read the part about this horrible restaurant opening! Thos Heart Attack burgers is offensive. Look at their website. I wish I could be with that woman tomorrow. And good for her for losing weight and caring enough to help others. Some of you people are just being awful because you can be unknown.

  • kb

    BF – nice to respond to the actual argument rather than name calling.

    Phil — to me (and I speak for me only), it’s not the size of the font, it’s the practice of putting on the packaging all together. I suppose maybe I have an issue with a corporation/business expressing religion rather than an individual. that might not make sense to anyone else, but that’s just my belief.

  • Churchlady

    How about Hobby Lobby playing hymns over the
    intercom while you’re looking for the Super Glue??

  • kb

    @churchlady — they do that? strangely, i’ve never been to a hobby lobby, much more of a Michael’s/Jo Ann’s type of girl.

  • Brandon

    In and Out is a better choice in a field of non healthy fast food but should be enjoyed in with common sense, in moderation. Heart Attack Grill is deliberately trying to capitalize on deterioration of human beings health and well beings, which is immoral. The Bible verses were the idea of an individual, Rich Snyder, the son of the founder of the company and one can eat at In and Out and pay attention to them or not, just as one can read this article and pay attention to the comments, or not. The freshest beef burgers in DFW, however, are at Square Burger in McKinney. The man who raises the cattle, the owner of Genesis Beef, grinds the fresh never been frozen beef every day and walks it a block from his shop, Local Yocal, to Square Burger. That is fresh. I have eaten at Square Burger every day it has been opened since opening 11 months ago (opened 7 days a week. My weight has gone from 206 down to 173,that’s a fact and it’s been delicious.

  • Neil

    Wow. Is Munchausen Syndrome contagious or something?

    Apparently, the two most traumatic things in the world are:
    A religious message on a disposable cup/wrapper, and restaurants that serve unhealthy food:

    The horror!

  • BellyUpDallas

    HAG make fun of themselves…skinny and fat people eat there, as do skinny and fat people eat at INO.

    Eat where you want, its your money – unless someone is buying and then you dont have much of a say anyway.

    As for the Christian quotes/verses whatever it may be – I’m not a fan, but that is my personal opinion and I’m a catholic. I personally think religion is a private matter, I dont want to hear about from others except those that I choose to seek it out from (ie: priest) However if they want to do it, do for it – just dont be on the other end and complaining when other companies quote the koran or any other belief

    It is kinda funny though a company that uses child labor to produce clothes or a company that slaughters animals (no matter how human)quoting the Bible

  • Chris

    It is called choice. You can choose to go and eat there and you can choose not too! Why the heck does everyone in Dallas feel it is their right to push what they believe on everyone else?!?!? You have already made it to where people can’t smoke in bars. I can understand if you do not like smoke, so go somewhere else. If the bar looses enough business because people do not like it, then they will change. They should not be forced to change. I may not agree with the menu at this place but give me a break; we are all adults and need to start taking responsibility for our own actions!!!! Not everything in this world is a disease we need a pill or treatment for. If you are overweight go have a burger at this place if you want, heck you eat free if you are over 350lbs! If you are overweight and trying to lose weight, then don’t eat there!!!! Simple as that!

  • Hilare

    Nancy, your article states “I, for one, don’t like religion literally poured down my throat” and also “Don’t “force” your views on strangers.” You have to make the choice to eat at INO and look under your cup or the bottom back of the hamburger bag to actually see “John 3:16” etc. So no one is “forcing” it down your throat. Did you go in and order and an employee say, “Before I can hand you your cup, you need to look at the bottom and read it out loud please.” Most likely not. And you are not a stranger when you walk in or drive thru an INO, you are a customer. They will never hand you your order and say “have a blessed day” nor are all of the employees or upper management of Christian faith. It’s like me saying you’re forcing your column down my throat. I have to go out of my way to read it and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I just think you have negatively over exaggerated something about a company on a subject as controversial as Religion and the sad part is, people will read your view and not go there because you’re telling them religion is literally being poured down their throat. Couldn’t be more wrong.

  • Twinwillow

    When I lived in or visited California, I ate at INO for lunch very often. I swear, I never noticed any religious quotes or verses on, anything. And although I’m not a very religious person, It wouldn’t have bothered me if I had noticed them.

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  • Adam R

    I’m a hardline Atheist and I eat at In-N-Out regularly. The scripture references don’t bother me… you can’t even see them unless you’re looking for them. Even still, to me they are just like saying “The boogey man also likes burgers.”

  • Others have said it already and probably better than I can, but count me among those perplexed at how Bible verses printed in almost not-visible places on a fast food cup qualifies as forcing religion down someone’s throat, and how it could possibly be “disturbing.” Sounds like someone has some issues. Child abuse is disturbing. Cheating spouses are disturbing. Words printed on a fast food cup are not disturbing.

    Also on the nutritional analysis of INO vs. Whataburger, I’d argue that the serving size is exactly the point. Eat smaller servings, consume fewer calories. It’s quite simple really.

  • kb

    emily -i’ll say it as bluntly as i can, although i am sure i will get flamed for this. i have jewish family members and i am uncomfortable giving my money to establishments that openly preach that accepting jesus is the only way to salvation. that is what is disturbing to me, not the print, not the font, the idea behind it (and i consider including any bible verse as openly preaching). because, that means that the company believes that my precious, adorable nephew will burn in hell. and i don’t want to give my money to that. does that make sense?

  • we put biblical reflections on the weapons our soldiers carry, bet we all want our soldiers to go to heaven or have an edge in battle. do we not all meditate for there good?(prayer). even the atheist are in denial of the power of there inner hopes for love and peace(practice of self talk, prayer).i don’t think the power of meditation just evolved.if we would all have higher level of faith for answered hopes. what a better world we could live in.
    i don’t see how scripture is appropriate for fattening food.well i guess if you eat a lot of it you may want to investigate you spirituality or everlasting life. i do see how scripture is appropriate for all who wish to put it out there. freedom of speech. no one has to read it or waist their time meditating on the meaning of it.

  • Jack

    In N Out is great, putting a proverb on a the underside of a cup is like putting a fortune in a fortune cookie. It does no harm and perhaps might give someone something to think about while having lunch. Get over it. The food is great, they are hardly forcing religion down anyone’s throat, if you dont like it dont read it.

    Heart Attack Burger is a stupid concept they will be done in a year, maybe less.

  • The Bishop of Kessler Park

    I don’t understand why companies would do something that could irritate a potential customer. Leaving it off annoys no-one.

    I was never going to drive to Frisco or Allen for fast-food, so wasn’t a potential customer. Knowing what I know now makes me definitely a non-customer wherever they open.

    Thanks for sharing Nancy.

  • David

    Maybe that Little Bible Verse is why they are so unbelievably successful!? I for one (and MILLIONS of others) Love the fact that it is a family owned business that can do whatever the heck they want to – and choose to do it. If it comes at a cost to them, they would take the sacrifice. Instead it probably is a blessing on their business.

    Don’t like it? Don’t eat there! Really, Please don’t eat there if you’re offended by the little Bible Verse on their Bags, Cups and Fry containers. By you skipping out, us un-offended customers will have shorter lines.

  • Roger m

    Eating fat foods are bad for you is a myth. Google the anabolic diet. My total cholesterol is around 170 with 12% body fat. I eat what I want on the weekends. What kills you is sitting on your ass!

  • SAM

    I understand what you’re trying to say with this post–pointing out the irony of being gaga about one burger joint, while bashing the other one, even though they serve similar food. But the fact is that you chose to heap really unkind words on a Christian man to make your agrument. Your gay friend is free to ask the Christian man that question if he wants to. It’s part of the whole free speech/freedom of religion aspect of our culture. Unfortunately, many people misconstrue the Constitution as offering them freedom FROM religion. That’s not what it says. There are other countries that have tried that and it doesn’t work. All I’m trying to say is Christians deserve the same respect as fellow human beings as your gay friend. As someone who is supposed to present the unbiased facts, it seems you let your personal hate of Christians get in the way. And yes, I do see some hypocrisy about the way the two hamburger chains were treated by the public (and the media). I saw the same hypocrisy when people lined up to shop at that big box Ikea store but scream about Wal-Mart selling cheap foreign-made items.

  • Hilare

    I guess I just don’t understand, but how is writing “John:3.16” in a place where you can not easily see it, preaching? I could understand if they made you read the verse or look for it before you order, but I don’t consider something out of site “preaching”.

    @kb- very extreme and dramatic saying the company wishes ill of your nephew. it’s unfortunate your views are so negative.

  • kb

    Hilare – it’s not extreme or dramatic, it’s logic. and, i hate to tell you, it ain’t my views that include people going to hell, so i would say i’m not the negative one here. also, i don’t know your views, so please don’t think i am assuming that i do.

    i would break down my logic for you, but i anticipate we wouldn’t see things the same way. and to me, “preaching” is, in essence, spreading the word of God. so, if you choose to spread the word of God by placing something on a wrapper, you are preaching the word of God.

    okay, i think i’ve wasted enough time and energy on this.