Tim’s Place—Breakfast With a Hug!


Tim Harris, owner of Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, New Mexico (photo courtesy of AOL)

Welcome to Tim’s Place, a full-service restaurant where every meal is served with a heaping portion of love and hugs from owner Tim Harris.

I knew Tim was a special kind of guy when I read that he was elected homecoming king at his Albuquerque high school by the highest margin of votes in school history.

Here is a bio of Tim courtesy of his website:

The famous quote from Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it” has been the driving force behind the life of Tim Harris. Born in 1986 with Down Syndrome, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations.

As a 2004 graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim was elected homecoming king by the highest margin of votes in school history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty, and staff.

In the fall of 2004, Tim moved to Roswell, New Mexico to attend Eastern New Mexico University. Tim lived in a college dorm and graduated in 2008 with certificates in Food Service, Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting. During college Tim worked at a variety of local restaurants including CiCi’s Pizza, Golden Corral, IHOP, and Peppers Bar and Grill.

After college, Tim worked as a host at Applebee’s restaurant in Albuquerque and spent time living aboard a sailboat with his parents and traveling throughout the Bahamas where he first earned his nickname “Tim the Man.”

Early in his teen years, Tim began to dream of owning his own restaurant someday. In October of 2010, the next chapter began with the grand opening of Tim’s Place – a restaurant in Albuquerque that is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week. Tim offers free hugs on his menu and is very excited about fulfilling his dream to own a restaurant.

Public speaker, Special Olympics athlete, homecoming king, college graduate, sailor, and restaurant entrepreneur Tim Harris is more commonly known as “Tim the Man.”


Here is a story about Tim from the website of ABC News:

When he was 13 years old, Tim Harris told people that one day he would own and operate a restaurant.

And for the past three years, he has: Tim’s Place, of Albuquerque, N.M.

This is a big deal, because Harris, now 27, has Down Syndrome. Running a restaurant–or any business, for that matter–was never something that was expected of him. But after he expressed interest in the restaurant business, his parents, Keith and Jeannie Harris, who co-own a technology company, figured out a way to make his dream a reality.

“When you have a kid with substantial disabilities you have to think a lot about their future,” his father, Keith Harris, told ABC News. “We were very motivated for Tim to have as normal as life as possible. Our philosophy as a family was to push the envelope as much as we could toward independence, so that one day when my wife and I are no longer in the picture, Tim will be settled and have his own life.”

From the start, it was clear that Tim’s Place was something special. In addition to standard American and Mexican breakfasts and lunches, Harris serves hugs, and lots of them. So far, he’s doled out up to 32,4750, according to a “hug counter” on the eatery’s website.

Giving hugs “is my favorite part of the day,” said Harris, who arrives at work every morning between 7 and 7:30 and leaves around 2 pm every day except Tuesdays, his day off. “I come to work and I have my shirt untucked. I get my breakfast, and when I’m done, I’ll tuck in my shirt and get into work mode.”

Opening the restaurant, which is technically owned by Keith and Jeannie but will be transferred to a trust in his name, was part of a long-range plan his parents had as a way of insuring their sons’ independence. Knowing that Tim is taken care of is “kind of a comforting feeling as a parent,” said Keith Harris.

But Harris was never treated differently from his three brothers. He attended a mainstream high school–where he was voted homecoming king–and earned certificates in Food Service and in Office Skills at Eastern New Mexico University. He lived in a college dorm, and graduated in the summer of 2008. He’s had a girlfriend, Whitney, for the past 10 months.

Throughout high school and college, he worked as a host at places including Applebee’s and Red Robin, and, his father said, the restaurants did better when he was on duty. “People liked coming in to see him,” he said. That’s when his parents had a “little light bulb moment” and thought: “Why can’t we harness that effect to Tim’s own benefit economically?”

In May of 2010, the Harris’s signed a lease for a restaurant, and the doors opened in October of that year. Today, there’s a chef and manager, but Tim, who lives alone in an apartment next to the restaurant, “Works the room like a gifted politician and visits every table,” his father said.

Harris, who has won several gold medals in the Special Olympics, is also a motivational speaker. His top message? “I tell people with disabilities to stay in school, so they can follow their dreams.”

Click here to see all my posts related to Down Syndrome.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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2 Responses to “Tim’s Place—Breakfast With a Hug!”

  1. Little Bird's Dad Says:

    Thanks for telling this story…I’ve seen the video, and I even posted it on the Little Bird’s Dad Facebook page, but I liked reading the WHOLE story.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re very welcome, LBD!

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