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Tim: The Only Person With Down Syndrome to Own and Operate a Business

I saw this story on one of our local news station the other night, and had no idea this restaurant existed, nor knew of Tim Harris. And such a wonderful story this is.

Tim’s father has searched all over the country, and although it is not definite, it appears that Tim may very well be the only person with Down Syndrome to own and operate a business, which is Tim’s Place, a restaurant located right here in Albuquerque NM.

(NOTE: The audio starts out very quietly, but quickly adjusts in just a few seconds – someone at KASA fell asleep at the switch for a moment. Oh, and the “expand” option doesn’t work correctly, so best to watch as is.)

 Vodpod videos no longer available.

Harris has accomplished a lot.

“This trophy right here, I got student of the year,” Harris, 25, said as he gave KRQE News 13 a tour of Tim’s Place.

“I won homecoming king from the highest margin of votes in school history,” said Harris, a 2004 graduate of Eldorado High School. He went on to get a degree from Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.

On Tim’s Place website, Tim tells about how after college, he worked as a host at Applebee’s restaurant in Albuquerque and has participated in Special Olympics competitions throughout New Mexico.  Tim enjoys basketball, volleyball, poly hockey, track and field, and golf.  He has won dozens of gold medals as a Special Olympian.

Tim spent much of 2009 and 2010 living aboard a sailboat with his parents and traveling throughout the Bahamas.  Tim is now widely known throughout the Bahamas and is an excellent sailor and offshore fisherman.

He then followed through on what he’s always wanted since he was a kid. With the help of his family, he opened Tim’s Place in 2010 near Academy and Wyoming in northeast Albuquerque.

“This restaurant has been about 10 years in the making, kind of a plan within our family,” said Keith Harris, Tim’s father.  “A novel idea to help our son Tim, who has Down syndrome, create an independent life for himself just like his brothers.”

He has a unique way of winning over customers. He offers something on the menu you can only order here, a “Tim hug.” “I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” said Harris. Tim gives out hundreds of hugs each week. He even keeps count and is closing in on 15,000 hugs since he opened last year.

Tim says it’s a job he loves. What’s the hardest part about his job? Tim smiles as he says nothing. “He has this unique quality where he is happy literally every day,” said Jeannie Harris, Tim’s mother.

Listed on the menu on Tim’s website is:


A Tim Hug Tim's Place Calorie Free, Guilt Free. Sweet, but not too sweet. Guaranteed to improve your lease on life!  Ask your server.

I think it is time I go have a bite to eat at Tim’s Place and order myself a hug.


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