Hugs Cafe: Opportunity for the Special Needs Community in Dallas

WOW! My heart is so full! Hugs Café is an incredible establishment filled with positivity, friendship, and purpose. This amazing café employs special needs adults with a true passion for their job. Just look at the smiles in the picture! You can tell this is a group of bright individuals.

Hugs Café employs twenty-two men & women with special needs including down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and more. These conditions do not define or set boundaries for this hardworking team at Hugs Café. After the training process, jobs are assigned based on the individual’s skill set. Responsibilities include bussing tables, working the cash register, washing dishes, baking, and more. These dedicated adults do just about everything! Hugs Café also has many volunteers to assist with training, monitoring the kitchen, and running the cash register. Founder Ruth and her husband are present on a regular basis.


Ruth has always had a love for special needs adults. When she moved to Texas she was working at Market Street in McKinney and started teaching cooking classes for adults with special needs. As she was teaching the classes, she realized a lot of the adults were good at cooking and enjoyed it. Ruth had a dream, two nights in a row, about a café that employed special needs adults. She took this as a sign and decided to open up Hugs Café. Hugs Café has been open in McKinney Texas for about seven months. They will be celebrating their grand opening next week on Tuesday, May 17th 2016 and will have an official ribbon cutting at 10:30am. The menu will have specials all week long to celebrate! If you are local to the DFW area, I would highly recommend going to see what it is all about.

It was impressive to see this team of hard working men and women. It is clear Hugs Café has impacted their lives. The environment is welcoming and allows each employee to thrive. The day I visited, I was impressed with the service, the food, and the determination of the staff.

Hugs Café is delicious and affordable. I enjoyed half of a sandwich, a side salad, coke, and two cookies for $12. I ordered the “Peach Gobbler” sandwich with turkey, cheese, bacon, lettuce, and homemade peach chutney on toasted bread. It was yummy! I’d have to say my favorite part of my meal was the chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious! I even got the chance to chat with the baker, Kalyn. We talked about how she is learning the violin and loves working at Hugs Café. She said, “My favorite part about work is baking the cookies.” Kalyn was very cheery and such a pleasure to be around.

Ruth hopes to expand and employ more special needs adults. She currently has a wait list of special needs individuals hoping to be employed. In the fall, Ruth plans to host classes, at the café, to teach more special needs adults food service skills. Ruth has also noticed some of her team has a passion for gardening. She hopes to build a greenhouse and employ more adults there. Eventually, she would like to expand Hugs Café across America. There is a shortage of opportunities for young adults with special needs. Once they age out of the school system their options are limited. Ruth is very aware of this and would love for Hugs Café to grow and provide opportunities in a variety of states. Hugs Café needs your participation to expand their impact! If you are local, stop in and grab a bite to eat. If you want to learn more or learn how you can donate to Hugs Café, please watch the videos on the Hugs Café Facebook page or check out their website.