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.

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