Today we combined two occasions, Hispanic Heritage Month and our current series on apples, to talk about Juan “Big John” Mora (1890-1976) the founder of the Big Apple Inn restaurant on Farish Street in Jackson, Mississippi. The restaurant's menu features smoked sausage and big ear sandwiches dressed with slaw and mustard, bologna sandwiches, and tamales.
Mora migrated to Jackson from Mexico City during the Great Depression. He married a local African American women and he and his son Harold from that union purchased an old grocery store on Farish for one hundred dollars which they renovated into a restaurant. Harold named the restaurant after a popular dance in 1939 that he loved called the Big Apple. Civil rights leaders Medger Evers rented office space above the restaurant and when he ran out of sitting room he would move meeting down stairs in the restaurant. Customers lined up at the restaurant’s door to hear Ever's strategy sessions. The Big Apple Inn has expanded to include a location in Atlanta, Georgia.