The Big Springs Down-Low

Where we came from and where we’re headed

Photo by Terra Fondriest for her Ozark Life Project

Photo by Terra Fondriest for her Ozark Life Project

Origin Story

Big Springs began in Newnata at a little diner in 2003. We moved to a little cabin on the Gilbert road after that, then to our present location in 2004. Jen and her husband-at-the-time found themselves in need of jobs, put their heads together about what they were good at (he was a trained chef), and decided to give the restaurant business a try. He’s been out of the picture since 2010, and Jen has been carrying on with the help of family and friends since then.

The original cafe featured the BBQ created in an Oyler pit, and on purchasing the current building, house-smoked bacon, ham, cheese, and such were added to the menu. Jen’s great-uncle Ben Stills helped train the staff in traditional Ozark smoking and curing for several years, until his health forced him to retire. Ben passed away a couple of years ago, and is keenly missed.

To answer one of our most asked questions, yes, we do all of the smoking ourselves, right here on the premises. Also, we don’t actually object to working with men (contrary to popular belief), we just happen to all be women right now. We find that it doesn’t seem to impair our ability to make BBQ or bacon.


The Big Springs girls are embracing their roots while trying new things. The brisket, pork, bacon, and other great smoked meats will always be on the menu. We’re incorporating local ingredients wherever we can, including locally raised organic steaks, locally grown vegetables and fruit, and anything else we can get our hands on.

Southern cuisine is often evident in our specials and rotating seasonal menu. From turnip greens to smoked mac & cheese, there’s no telling what you’ll find on the menu on any given day.

Desserts are made from scratch in-house, as are our sides. We get lots of compliments on our cookies and coleslaw in particular.