Heart Attack Grill not closing, owner says
by Edythe Jensen - Jun. 2, 2011 05:33 PM
The Arizona Republic
The owner of Chandler's Heart Attack Grill said he closed the restaurant temporarily "to put a few posters on the wall" but may move the business to Phoenix or Scottsdale if the city continues to fight him over his building's paint color.
Jon Basso said earlier reports that his grill may be closed for good are false. He recently opened a second restaurant in Dallas and said he is using the time when the Chandler site is closed to build the Texas business.
The Chandler restaurant got national attention for its calorie-laden fare and waitresses dressed in provocative nurse outfits.
When the owner of a nearby business reported the grill's closure this week, efforts to contact Basso were unsuccessful. The phone numbers listed for the Heart Attack Grill and Basso's home were disconnected and there is no phone listing for the Dallas restaurant. Basso, who contacted The Republic from his cell phone, said neither the Chandler restaurant nor the Dallas one have phones.
Located in a near-vacant tan-colored shopping center on Chandler Boulevard and Kyrene Road, the Heart Attack Grill is painted white. That has created a conflict between the owner and the city, Basso said. "Chandler has threatened to seek criminal action against me because they don't like my shade of white," he said. "I bring more tourists to city of Chandler than any other business . . . .I don't need Chandler," he said. "The Texas business environment is so darned friendly that it makes me question the wisdom of ever returning to Arizona."
Alan Ayers, site development coordinator for the city, said Basso painted the building a different color than the rest of the center several years ago without approval, which violates the shopping center's development plan. City officials have since been telling him that he needs to either paint the building to match the rest of the center or apply for a plan change, but no application has been filed, Ayers said. The city could pursue a misdemeanor code violation charge but has not, he said.
Basso said he also is negotiating with his landlord for an extended lease and reduced rent. Although the sign on the Chandler restaurant door said it will re-open June 15, the owner said if he doesn't reach an agreement with his landlord and if the city continues to push for a color change "we will certainly reopen at end of summer at a new location in downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale."