The owners of a new hotdog restaurant at the FairOaks Mall hope to make a difference in the community by providing employment opportunities for individuals with special needs.

Special Dogs & More, which serves gourmet hot dogs, ribbon fries and other food items, began in concept three years ago, said Randy Lapidus, who co-owns the business with his wife, Robin.

The restaurant opened Oct. 15.

Lapidus said the idea of a gourmet hotdog business originated a few years after his daughter, Rachel, went into cardiac arrest and later underwent treatment at a rehabilitation center in Indianapolis.

Rachel went into cardiac arrest on July 27, 2011. Her heart stopped beating for more than eight minutes. She had to relearn how to read, write, count and even comprehend the concept of time.

“We just thought what we could do to help open the door for those that are intellectually challenged,” Lapidus said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com