Trustee Toby Cosgrove has bigger burgers to fry than anchor housing.

The Pizza Hut is shuttered, its neon sign collecting dust on the floor. But knocking down the Golden Arches has proved far more difficult for Toby Cosgrove, the new head of the Cleveland Clinic.

A heart surgeon who has cleaned out a career’s worth of clogged arteries, Cosgrove didn’t think Big Macs, supersize fries and inch-thick, six-cheese pizzas belonged in the lobby of a hospital renowned for its cardiac care. So he decreed the fast-food joints had to go.

Pizza Hut went quietly. But McDonald’s, halfway through a 20-year lease, has refused to shut down a franchise that serves 12,000 doctors, nurses, janitors, secretaries, patients and visitors each week.

A 20-year lease? Wow.

“We have to set an example with the food we serve our patients and employees,” said Cosgrove, a trim 63-year-old. “In a way, McDonald’s was symbolic as much as anything else. It is not associated with heart-healthy food; neither is Pizza Hut.”

But Cosgrove’s crusade has been met with resistance from not just McDonald’s executives, who say they are being singled out for a problem that goes beyond the occasional Happy Meal, but also from staff and visitors who resent what they consider to be a paternalistic attitude from bosses who can afford pricier, more healthful food.

My McDonald’s favorites have been chicken and salad for more than 15 years. Isn’t that healthy enough? But perhaps Cosgrove knows what is best for me.

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