Big D BBQ recently experienced a metamorphosis—kind of.
When owner Jordy Jordan opened his second location, the barbecue joint, which bills itself as offering “the largest selection of bourbon in Ellis County,” moved into the former Midlothian Mirror office building and became known as Penn to Paper.
Jordan said he chose the name as a tribute to a local newspaper legend and that man’s fascination with with a certain piece of history.
“Originally we wanted to have a ‘speakeasy’ and name it Penn to Paper to bring light to Penn Jones, Jr., the editor and owner of the Midlothian Mirror Newspaper,” Jordan said. “When we started building Big D and learning the story of Penn Jones and his association with the JFK assassination, the curiosity just kept us digging more and more into it. We wanted to bring the history and story to light in our current day Midlothian.”
According to Texas Monthly, the late William Penn Jones Jr. is best known for his unrelenting quest to uncover the truth behind the Kennedy assassination.
When the longtime Midlothian resident, who went by his middle name, passed away in 1998, the Dallas Morning News obituary called him “the grandfather of Kennedy assassination researchers.”
Soon after the Warren Commission report was published in 1964, he called the findings into question.
Jones published the first of four volumes of his book, Forgive My Grief, two years later with the lengthy subtitle “A Critical Review of the Warren Commission Report on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
Texas Monthly said that Jones showed his own copy of the Zapruder film to anyone willing to hear his theory of where the gunshot originated, and he led an annual moment of silence from Dealey Plaza every November 22 from 1964 onward for decades.
Robert Groden is a renowned author, researcher, and expert in the field of the JFK assassination. Jordan wrote on Facebook, “Groden’s expertise in the realm of visual evidence, particularly with the famous Zapruder film, has been invaluable. He has brought attention to important details and anomalies that continue to fuel the ongoing debate surrounding JFK’s assassination.”
Jordan, 42, wanted to keep that legacy alive.
BBQ, Bourbon & More
Offering a menu of BBQ-inspired dishes, Jordan said “We wanted to take it back to an elegant, yet still modern feel. We wanted to show off the age of the building and the unique opportunity we have to bring something like this to our community.”
Jordan said that the response from local residents has been good, even as the new store is still a bit of a work in progress.
“We were supposed to be done with construction next door by the time the sign came,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So we had to make the name change before we were 100 percent ready. The reception has been great, yet at times a little confusing. We are doing everything we can to get the word out that we still will have barbecue and an all new menu coming once our other side opens. We will have a large dining area, a meeting room and we will be full service, versus the counter service we are now.”
A unique aspect of Big D BBQ and Penn to Paper is that Jordan designs the pint glasses himself.
“My cousin and I started a glassware company during Covid,” Jordan said. “We print different glassware for beer and spirits. Some glasses are glasses we design without any graphics and other have graphics.”
Jordan said there is the same devotion to service and selection of barbecue dishes that Big D BBQ is known for and said his ultimate goal is that customers leave satisfied, while learning a little bit about the restaurant’s namesake.
And for the local whiskey drinkers, don’t forget that every Wednesday is “whiskey Wednesday” an opportunity to discover new whiskeys with handpicked whisky flights. For the drinkers that prefer cocktails, they offer a flight of cocktails featuring whiskeys as well.