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Howdy Homemade Cinco Party Hosts Famed Fort Worth Food Truck Owner With Down Syndrome

Betcha never celebrated Cinco de Mayo with ice cream and hot dogs before. Howdy Homemade's party from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday is the perfect opportunity to try some Cinco de Mayo-friendly ice cream flavors like hot tamale, avocado and horchata. Howdy owner Tom Landis, who has always considered himself a “bit of an outsider” and helps provide opportunities for people with special needs, says this is a “party for the everyman.”

Austin Underwood of Austin’s Underdawgs is bringing the party with his hot dog trailer. You’ll have the chance to score tempting selections like the Straw Dog (with bacon bits and onion straws), an Italian-inspired hot dog with tomato sauce and mozzarella, even an Un-Dawg loaded with black beans and veggies. You’ll want to try the specialty dawg sauce, a raspberry-chipotle barbecue blend.

Underwood has recently gained some fame not only for his food, but for his personal experience as a chef diagnosed with Down syndrome. After completing vocational training in New Mexico and Vienna Beef’s Hot Dog University, he's realized his dream of becoming a business owner. A portion of his sales proceeds go to the Each & Everyone Foundation, which helps provide job skills to individuals with special needs.

At the party, you may just have the opportunity to meet its honoree, Tim Harris. Harris, who hails from New Mexico, is known as the first person in the United States with Down syndrome to own a restaurant. His visit to Dallas is part scouting mission, as he hopes to possibly open his own Howdy franchise in Denver, where he has recently relocated.

More people with special needs seem to be opening their own businesses these days. Although IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was passed in 1975 and updated in 1990, society may just now be catching up to the realization that the restaurant industry, where hospitality is key and the required skills tend to be very concrete, is well suited to many people with special needs. 

Tom Landis is hoping this fiesta will be big, possibly setting a Guinness World Record. Sure, it’s a little different from your typical Cinco de Mayo celebration, but different is exactly the beauty of Howdy Homemade.

Howdy Homemade, 4333 Lovers Lane,