TODAY   |  March 18, 2013

Restaurateur with Down Syndrome offers food, hugs

Thanks to rave reviews, the restaurant of the moment in Albuquerque is Tim’s Place, named after owner Tim Harris, who may be the first restaurateur with Down Syndrome. He talks to NBC’s Janet Shamlian about serving food, drinks, and “the best part”: hugs.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back at 8:39. a restaurant in new mexico attracting large crowds for its food and for the remarkable young man who runs it.

>> reporter: it's a home town favorite. with a diner like feel. and a mouth-watering menu.

>> this is my favorite restaurant to go to for breakfast.

>> reporter: the secret is out. in albuquerque the restaurant of the moment is tim 's place. it's was not on the menu that is the biggest draw. the restaurant 's namesake and owner tim . until is the first restauranteur with down syndrome. it was his dream since he was 14.

>> my dad helped me create the restaurant . my mom did the pictures.

>> you have a lot of support.

>> reporter: his dad funded it.

>> our expectation was the same as it was for his brothers. we decided early on it would be a mistake to treat him differently.

>> reporter: he attend ad mainstream high school where he was nominated as homecoming king . he's also a special olympian. tim 's parents helped him open the restaurant as a way of yes and no suring their son's independence but it's tim 's who makes this place special.

>> describe your job here to me what you're in charge of.

>> the hugs.

>> the hugs.

>> do serve food and drinks but the hugs. the best part.

>> who doesn't like hugs.

>> breakfast is unbelievable.

>> this is the part you won't see on the check. after all how do you price a hug.

>> when you get a hug what do you get out of the hug?

>> makes that person feel good and they will come back again.

>> i see tim touched somebody's life every single day.

>> you should do it. that's my motto.

>> did you dream this restaurant ?

>> i did and i got it.

>> this restaurant will serve as an inspiration for lots of families.

>> as for those hugs at until's place no one is charge but keeping count. more than 32,000 hugs so far.

>> i love you so much. i'm glad you're here.

>> i'm glad i'm here too.

>> reporter: for today, nbc "today" news albuquerque.

>>> so sweet. great story. today is world down syndrome day .