Ordinarily we would not do a blog about restaurants that we like, but this is not an ordinary restaurant. We had lunch on Friday at Tim’s Place. You may have read about this eatery in the local newspaper, because it opened just recently. It was recommended to me by a friend in California. Really! From California. He had heard about Tim’s Place. So I googled Tim’s Place first thing. http://timsplaceabq.com/ Try the website. You’ll like it. The restaurant at 8500 Academy NE advertises itself as the world’s friendliest restaurant. And, from our experience, we would agree! The sign outside promises breakfast, lunch and hugs.
Tim Harris is the owner. Tim was born with Down Syndrome. He graduated from El Dorado High School in 2004, having been elected homecoming king and Student of the Year. He went to Eastern New Mexico University earning certificates in Food Service and Office Skills, and while he was a student he worked in several local restaurants. With the help of his parents, he opened Tim’ Place this year.
We arrived for our lunch and as we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted by the wait staff and Tim and his general manager, Daniel Meeker. They were so glad to see us. But we looked around and the place was full! Since there were no tables available for us to sit by ourselves, we were offered the community table, which we happily accepted. We joined two retired special education teachers and a veteran. All of our table mates were repeat customers. In fact the veteran had eaten there 10 times in the short period that Tim’s Place has been open!
The menu is eclectic, with sandwiches, hamburgers and Mexican dishes. All of us at the table agreed, however, that each of our choices was delicious, fresh and made to order exactly as we had wished. The veteran does not even order any more. He just asks them to surprise him and they bring him a chef’s choice. He is never disappointed.
Our law firm works a lot with families who have disabled family members. Most of our planning is focused on how to shelter assets so that the disabled family member can obtain and keep Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Both of those programs require that a person be very very poor. As we describe it, our clients need to look poor on paper in order to maintain their public benefits. For most disabled folks, this forecloses having a job other than part time menial work. Tim and his family decided that there was another way to go and that he could make it in this field, and we agree! We highly recommend this restaurant.
I learned this weekend about another business called Waggies by Maggie & Friends, which produces natural dog treats in Wilmington, Delaware. Maggie also has Down Syndrome, but she and her parents and many many people in that community support her business, which also employs workers with disabilities to produce the dog biscuits. Check out this business at http://www.waggies.org/ and get inspired!