If you walk into the Second Avenue Deli – a kosher eatery that relocated from the East Village, when it actually was on 2nd Avenue, to Midtown – with $24.95 in your wallet, you’ll have just enough moolah to buy a little snack called the ‘Instant Heart Attack.’ The 804-calorie towering sandwich, made up of sliced pastrami and fried potato latkes, is like the Tim Tebow at Carnegie Deli – a symbol of food excess that tastes delicious all the way to the doctor. Except the one at Second Avenue faced a bit of a legal problem.
Enter The Heart Attack Grill. This properly-named Las Vegas joint opened in 2005 and, to describe it in a nutshell, the website for the restaurant has a banner that says “Fight Anorexia!” and a sign that showcases its Guinness World Record for the Grill’s healthy serving known as the Quadruple Bypass Burger. So that’s the image it’s going for – a cholesterol-laden reputation that it was willing to sue the Second Avenue Deli over.
Unfortunately for the Grill, the suit was brought here to New York, where we take our food very, very seriously. For that reason, a Manhattan judge decided yesterday to let the Second Avenue Deli continue to sell the calories, handing owner Jack Lebewohl a victory over his Vegas rivals.
A trademark infringement case over a sandwich called the ‘Instant Heart Attack’… God bless America.
As well as the ‘Instant Heart Attack,’ the Deli will also be able to sell their new option, the Triple Bypass sandwich, which owner Jack Lebewohl described as including “everything but the kitchen sink.” It includes three latkes and is an additional $10, raising the price of your surgery to $34.95.
As the story goes, the judge must have had the time of his or her life making the decision – one that was based on noting the clear differences between the two sandwiches. One of the main ones: Second Avenue Deli is a kosher deli and The Heart Attack Grill is not. In the gastronomic world, that’s like black and white.
But, nonetheless, if we are to learn anything from this suit, it’s that no one can come between New Yorkers and their food. No one.
“At the center of the criticism is the chief articulator of Bush’s imperial presidency,” we reported in 1992, “the man who wrote the legal rationale for the Gulf War, the Panama invasion, and the officially sanctioned kidnapping of foreign nationals abroad.”
"Here was a messenger whose lyrics call attention to our condition, to the reasons for suffering: The music brings lightness to the feet and makes them dance, but the beat is a marching drum, a call to struggle"