Harrison’s Greasy Heart Attack: In Corvallis, the Burger Eats You

The Heart Attack at Harrison Bar & Grill is a monstrous burger: four cheese-topped beef patties, onion rings, jalapeño poppers, four strips of bacon, fried eggs, slices of ham, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, all set between two grilled cheese sandwiches in lieu of buns. There’s a side of tater tots, too. The time allotted for completion: 20 minutes. Finish it and it’s free.

Photo by Stuart White

Photo by Stuart White

I decided to take on the Heart Attack with my friend Ryan Sherman. We asked the bartender how many people had finished the burger, assuming that at least a handful of brave and bloated souls would’ve been successful. She smiled at our naiveté and told us nobody had yet done it, that only a few had even come close.

When the burger was brought out of the back, I immediately understood why it was unconquered. It looked to be stacked about as tall as a human forearm is long. After a ceremonial countdown, we dived (almost literally) into our respective burgers.

The first five minutes posed little difficulty. Cheered on by enthusiastic patrons, we shoveled food into our maws; I focused on my tater tots while Ryan chose to devour one of his grilled cheeses. I inhaled a patty and washed it down with all the bacon strips. He ate his fried eggs in a single bite. Progress was more than satisfactory.

At the 10-minute mark, I started to hurt. My jaw ached from chewing. I fought to keep pace with Ryan but started to slow down involuntarily. I kept my eyes focused on my plate, trying to avoid thinking of the years I was losing off my lifespan. When I looked up five minutes later, Ryan was done. The patrons were hollering in amazement; he still had five minutes to spare.

It was clear at the 18-minute mark that there was no safe way for me to finish my food. As Ryan posed for a picture with his free victory T-shirt, I discreetly spit the food still in my mouth into my napkin. One of the patrons actually shook Ryan’s hand as if he were an astronaut or a war hero. I slapped down my $25 payment and slumped out of the bar dejected.

Standing out in the fresh air, I doubled over from the weight in my stomach. Ryan clapped me on the back, laughing: “Next week I’m finishing in under 12. You down to try again?”

By Stuart White