Photo: Barely, Flickr
An Arizona restaurateur is suing the owners of an eatery in Florida, accusing them of stealing his idea for a heart-attack-inducing menu.
In the federal lawsuit, Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso contends that the pair behind Heart Stoppers Sports Grill in Delray Beach took his concept for a restaurant with unhealthy, cholesterol-raising fare, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
"Heart Attack Grill is the originator of the medically themed hamburger grill and restaurant," the paper quoted Basso's lawyer, Robert Kain, as saying. "It sells high-calorie food products and we have had very extensive media coverage, including numerous shows on the Travel Channel and the Food Network."
Kain told Slashfood that Heart Stoppers owners Iggy Lena and Bob Kutnick had been in talks to acquire a Heart Attack Grill franchise license before they broke off negotiations. In December, they opened their own restaurant instead. "We think Heart Stoppers infringes on Heart Attack Grill -- the name itself, which is trademarked," he said.
The lawsuit outlines about 30 ways Heart Stoppers is similar, including signs with EKG heart monitors on them, waitresses dressed as nurses and offers of free food to patrons weighing more than 350 pounds. But an attorney for Lena and Kutnick told the Sun-Sentinel that their restaurant isn't the same as the one in Chandler, Ariz., at all.
"It's not the same concept," Eric Lee told Slashfood. "The Arizona restaurant's concept is high-caloric food that is bad for you and will basically kill you ... My guys have a restaurant that is medically themed ... My clients' restaurant seems more like an actual medical facility."
In that vein, Heart Stoppers is festooned with defibrillators, dialysis machines and other medical equipment, has tables that resemble wheelchairs and serves salt and pepper in pill bottles.
Lee said one of the owners is a former paramedic and had the idea for a hospital-themed restaurant. A little research led to a phone call with Bosso.
"They spoke to him on one occasion," Lee told Slashfood. "When they found out that his theme was more food that could kill you and they wouldn't be able to change anything, they went and created this medically-themed restaurant. They weren't interested in doing his theme."
And check out more information about the restaurant from our friends at That's Fit.