Culinary Coronary Court Case: You Want a Stent With That?

“And I may be leaving myself open to a murder or a heart attack.”  Murder or a Heart Attack, The Old 97s

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been on a crusade to upgrade the menus of the Big Apple.  He’s championed laws to ban trans-fats and  to post-calorie counts everywhere from fast-food joints to the Bronx shrine known as Yankee Stadium.  (The Babe would be both pleased and chagrined to learn that one of his favorite snacks, The Nathan’s hot dog w/kraut, is the leanest offering at the House That He Built).  Now, the diminutive mayor is angling to downsize sugary sodas by pushing an ordinance that would cap fountain drinks at 16 ounces.  Don’t fret, Big Gulp fans–7-Eleven somehow wangled an exemption to this Super Size Inquisition.  So the 64 oz Slurpee will endure–survival of the fizziest!

Another icon of New York’s food-obsessed landscape also stands oblivious to Mayor B’s Quixotic quest for a healthy electorate–The Second Avenue Deli.  That emporium of cured beef and rye bread has been serving up lipid-rich, gut busting delicacies since the 19th century.

Recently, the deli faced not the wrath of the multi-millionaire mayor B, but that of a disgruntled trademark owner located two thousand miles to the west in Las Vegas.  For years, that sin-city eatery, The Heart Attack Grill, has served-up a line-up of By-Pass Burgers (Single, Double, Triple–you get the idea).   And no Bypass Burger is complete without a helpings of “Flatliner Fries.”

High-rolling patrons seem to take to the dangerous fare, flocking the The Heart Attack to wager their longevity on the heady mix of beef, fat, flame, and bun.  News sources report that at least one patron suffered a heart attack after grappling with a Triple Bypass burger–a harrowing episode that nearly validated the restaurant’s slogan–“The Taste Worth Dying For.”

While its cardiac imagery may be facetious, the Heart Attack Grill gets serious when it comes to its trademarks.  It complained when the Second Avenue Deli began selling an “Instant Heart Attack” Sandwich.  And the Las Vegas outfit got apoplectic when it learned about the Deli’s plan to introduce a menu item called “The Triple Bypass.”

The Second Avenue Deli responded like any true New Yorker would–it sued, asking a federal court to give its morbid names a clean bill of health.

And in an order issued last week, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer largely sided with his fellow New Yorkers.  The judge ruled that the Deli could use its names, albeit with some  restrictions; only uses on its menus and print signage in Manhattan are kosher.

So the Heart Attack Grill’s attempted cardiac-themed arrest failed.

By the way, the Instant Heart Attack is a mountain of corned beef and pastrami served between two potato latkes.  The Triple Bypass will have three latke layers.  L’Chaim.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Mother Nature clearly intended for us to get our food from the “patty” group, which includes hamburgers, fish sticks, and McNuggets- foods that have had all of their organs safely removed.” Dave Barry

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