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4 Rivers Smokehouse Winter Park

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fsupilam33 Nov 3, 2009 04:59 AM

This new bbq place they have been working on has finally opened, and it is fantastic. Thier sauce is the bet i Have tasted in some time. On my first and only visit i had the brisket dinner which comes with three sides. The mac and cheese is delicious!! You can check out their website here

www.4rbbq.com

They have an amazing story with the majority of their proceeds going to charity

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    melpadilla RE: fsupilam33 Nov 3, 2009 12:44 PM

    Finally. I've been excited to try this place, glad to hear its great. I'll be checking it out soon. How are the prices?

    13 Replies
    1. re: melpadilla
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      fsupilam33 RE: melpadilla Nov 4, 2009 09:51 AM

      On my first visit I got the brisket dinner which came with three sides. that was $11.99. I went back yesterday and got 10 smoked wings for $6.99. the wings are phenomenal. so tender and juicy. pick up an order of six when you go.....trust me.

      Also on my last visit I noticed a darker meat they had in between the pulled pork and pulled chicken. I asked what it was and it was meat for the Burnt Ends sandwhich. It was heavly smoked portions of the "ends" of both brisket and pork. It tasted fantastic and my next order will def. be the brunt ends sandwich.

      Regular sanwhiches are $6.99 plus two sides.

      The lines have been really long and it can take about 15mins to go through it, but i think it is worth it.

      Enjoy

      1. re: fsupilam33
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        melpadilla RE: fsupilam33 Nov 4, 2009 11:36 AM

        Excellent info. I saw the wings on the menu and thought the preperation sounded fantastic so glad to hear they really are. Aww, the burnt end sandwich sounds heavenly.

        1. re: fsupilam33
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          kinglouix RE: fsupilam33 Nov 7, 2009 11:40 AM

          Brisket dinner is now increased to $12.99, let's hope this is not a trend. Shane's in Maitland did the same thing (increased their prices every time I went in there for a month) and now you can't find a customer in there.

          1. re: kinglouix
            freakerdude RE: kinglouix Nov 8, 2009 07:00 PM

            Shane's Rib Shack as in the faux bbq chain? Most concepts started under Raving Blands (Brands) are mediocre.

            But RB has made some good money selling Moe's Southwestern to Focus (Carvel) and Shanes to another investor.

            1. re: kinglouix
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              bbqsleuth RE: kinglouix May 22, 2010 07:09 PM

              Well, I knew they would do it, and they did! 4Rivers has always had generous portions and excellent Texas style bbq...until now. The last time we visited (around May 3rd), I noticed, as we crawled our way to the front of the line, that the employees were skimming the portions (of the side items) off the top of the small cups they are placed in. They had never before worried if you got an extra kernal of corn or one extra bean. We also noticed that the guys that were cutting the meats were going way lite on the meats. If you had dined there before as we had (several times), you would notice the difference immediately. We always ordered the grits casserole as well. It had always been a generous portion wrapped in aluminum foil about 4x4. As I approached the register, I saw the familiar foil but it was only 1x4! A piece no wider than your thumb. I asked the girl @ the register what was up with the skimpy portions? She agreed and said that they had cut back. I asked to speak to the manager and explained to him that the portions were sizeably smaller. He told me that as far as the grits casserole, they decided to give smaller portions to reduce their time consumption in preparing the casserole. WHAT!!! I mentioned to him that everything was smaller but their prices, which kept going up. He didn't seem to care and seemed appalled that I actually mentioned it. This is a recipe for disaster and has killed more than one good eatery. They will lose a lot of loyal customers, starting with me! It's good, but it's not worth the price verus the portions! If the place was cheap you could cut them some slack, but they're not. My wife and I share the two meat platter w/ a couple of drinks and a dessert and it's almost $25.00...for one dinner! Save yourself the pain in your wallet and go to a place that actually values the customer.

              1. re: bbqsleuth
                askdrtodd RE: bbqsleuth May 23, 2010 05:41 AM

                NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

                1. re: bbqsleuth
                  Sandwich_Sister RE: bbqsleuth May 23, 2010 08:40 AM

                  wow that is horrible news.

                  1. re: bbqsleuth
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                    herbert1 RE: bbqsleuth May 23, 2010 11:12 AM

                    Sorry to hear, I agree that they are pretty expensive in the first place. I usually order a pound of brisket and either split it if I am dining with someone or take the remainder home. I think most of the sides are average, except the jalepeno peppers which are awesome.

                    The lack of caring by the manager is terrible.

                    1. re: herbert1
                      Sandwich_Sister RE: herbert1 May 23, 2010 12:19 PM

                      You really nailed it about the sides. The jalopenos are awesome.

                      I'm worried about their business model if they are loosing money and had to shrink the proportions.

                      Also has all the attention gone to their heads? What was up with that manager. I suppose they think they can do anything and people will still come in droves, and that is a very deathly mistake.

                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                        askdrtodd RE: Sandwich_Sister May 23, 2010 12:55 PM

                        DAMMIT I AM IRATE! (that's similar to very mad) I wish there were enough of us that we could write letters and get them to stop the shenanigans. I can't imagine they're losing money, the rent there can't be that much and they have an insane number of customers each day.

                        1. re: askdrtodd
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                          herbert1 RE: askdrtodd May 23, 2010 01:31 PM

                          It might be possible that they were to liberal with some of the meat servings, but cutting drastically back on grits... not much savings in that.

                          BTW I did have a good customer experience a while back, somehow the jalopenos had been left out of my to go order (but was still on the bill), I went back about a week later, explained it to the servers and they gladly gave me some no charge on the next order.

                          I just emailed a link to this thread to them. Maybe they will respond.

                          1. re: herbert1
                            askdrtodd RE: herbert1 May 24, 2010 05:28 AM

                            I hope they at least take note, I've sent literally dozens of people to that restaurant and if they've truly changed as bbqsleuth said they did above...

                            I love capitalism as much as the next guy, but not when amazing BBQ is involved.

                  2. re: kinglouix
                    max5d RE: kinglouix Dec 15, 2010 02:53 PM

                    Would never try and compare these two places. Shane's has since shut down, 4 Rivers will stay open for as long as the owner wants it to. Some of the best smoked brisket in town. Sauce is good. Cakes from "Atlanta" bakery are wonderful.

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                hoofnit RE: fsupilam33 Nov 5, 2009 07:30 AM

                November 11th starting at 11am they are donating 50 percent of all the days proceeds to the The Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida for their official grand opening.

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                  herbert1 RE: fsupilam33 Nov 5, 2009 07:34 PM

                  Tried it out for dinner tonight. The brisket was outstanding. the Jalepeno Poppers were very good. The cornbread average.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: herbert1
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                    Rona Gindin RE: herbert1 Nov 6, 2009 02:26 AM

                    How long was the wait? I've passed 4Rivers twice now since it opened, once at night, once at lunchtimes, and saw long lines both times.
                    RonaGindin.com

                    1. re: Rona Gindin
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                      herbert1 RE: Rona Gindin Nov 6, 2009 03:58 AM

                      I hit it at a lull, went at 6:30, and only a 5 minute wait, but when I left at 7, there was a line three times as long. It's definitely good stuff, and with the dearth of good bbq places in Orlando, I don't expect it to die down anytime soon.

                      1. re: herbert1
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                        Rona Gindin RE: herbert1 Nov 6, 2009 04:09 AM

                        On my way!

                        1. re: Rona Gindin
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                          fsupilam33 RE: Rona Gindin Nov 6, 2009 05:54 AM

                          they do a pretty good job of keeping the line moving as well. i'm actually thinking of getting their large turkey for thanksgiving

                          1. re: fsupilam33
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                            herbert1 RE: fsupilam33 Nov 6, 2009 08:27 AM

                            I think they are gonna be absolutely slammed for thanksgiving, given the quality and taste of what I have experienced so far with the meat.

                  2. k
                    kinglouix RE: fsupilam33 Nov 6, 2009 04:23 PM

                    Are you kidding me? I could kiss the ground. Finally a BBQ place in Orlando where I didn't feel like jumping over the counter and punching the cook in the face. This is the worst food city in America, full of chain restaurants and chefs that can't understand how to flip a burger; until now. The brisket was bar none the best I've ever had. The pulled pork is good but not nearly at the level of the brisket. The sides were very servicable. Fries are crinkle cut and not bad. Beans where good as was Mac and Cheese. The brisket alone is worth a drive for miles. If you ever eat again at Sony's, Roach Boys, Bubbalou's or any of the other terminal bbq spots in central florida, you should have your tongue cut out.
                    The only drawback I see is that you eat only outside, which works November through March. What do you do the other 7 months when it is 95 degrees with 95% humidity? I guess, I answered my own question, you take it out. Also, sweet tea is good with real lemon. We are so starved for anything edible in Orlando: Thank you 4 RIVERS.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kinglouix
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                      herbert1 RE: kinglouix Nov 7, 2009 01:40 AM

                      Went back last night. Had the pork, decent but not as good as brisket. Chicken wings were very good. Baked beans were average, cheese grits were poor, fried pickles were fantastic.

                      1. re: herbert1
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                        orlwine RE: herbert1 Nov 7, 2009 07:15 PM

                        I met one of the managers today at an off-site tasting - he told me they smoke the brisket for 18 hours. Then I tasted it. Simply amazing stuff. They made a believer out of me...

                      2. re: kinglouix
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                        kinglouix RE: kinglouix Nov 21, 2009 08:14 AM

                        Went back again yesterday, the brisket is still worth driving hours for.

                      3. b
                        BarryL524 RE: fsupilam33 Nov 9, 2009 04:49 AM

                        I went over the weekend and thought it was excellent, even though I had to wait roughly 10 minutes in line. I had the Burnt End Sandwich, which was excellent. So good, I didn't even need any of the BBQ sauce. I also really enjoyed the Baked Beans. Saw the desserts, but I didn't try any. They looked good though!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BarryL524
                          max5d RE: BarryL524 Dec 15, 2010 02:55 PM

                          Barry, they don't make the cakes they sell, but some of the best around, try a piece next time, big portions.

                        2. h
                          herbert1 RE: fsupilam33 Nov 21, 2009 08:21 AM

                          http://www.scottjosephorlando.com/com...

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                            2whlgeezer RE: fsupilam33 Dec 27, 2009 01:17 AM

                            Service is slow, lines are long and just not worth waiting for. The Winter Park yuppies will soon tire of 4 Rivers' poor service and move on to the next novelty. There are certain traditions in BBQ that are sacred and sitting together with strangers to enjoy "Q" on picnic tables is one of them 4 Rivers allows the yuppies to "save" whole tables while their friends go in and stand in libne for them. This means that tables are often empty with just one obnoxious yankee telling people to get another seat- when there aren't any.
                            Maybe if the service improves and the yuppies go away, I'll try 4 Rivers again.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 2whlgeezer
                              Sandwich_Sister RE: 2whlgeezer Mar 23, 2010 11:08 AM

                              I think it has toned down little bit. They do have an employee out there managing the tables and making sure everyone has a chance to sit down when they get food. People seemed to abide by the rule of sit when you get your food next to anyone.

                            2. b
                              Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: fsupilam33 Feb 26, 2010 09:36 AM

                              Yes, yes, YESSSSSS!

                              I finally got to try Four Rivers for lunch today. I was in the area around 11 AM -- a rarity for me as it is -- so I figured I could get there before the infamous long lines started for lunch. Unfortunately, there were about 15 people in line ahead of me, but at least I got a parking space in the gravel lot behind the restaurant. Everyone in line was buzzing with anticipation and excitement. When you line up at most normal restaurants, nobody makes eye contact, much less speaks. In this line, I chatted with an awesome huge guy with dreadlocks and gold teeth in front of me and an older cowboy-looking couple behind me: people who might never hang out in real life, but everyone in a great mood and psyched for barbecue. (None of us had been there before, but everyone had heard good things about it.)

                              When I finally got into the small room, the smells of smoked meat were overpowering (in a good way, of course). I never eat breakfast and usually don't eat lunch until late, but here it was, 11:15, and immediately I was starving. I noted that Four Rivers has a huge refrigerated drink case with one of the nicest varieties of sodas and juices I've ever seen at a restaurant: Boylan, Stewart's, and Natural Brew sodas, Orangina, and even Big Red, that hard-to-find Texas favorite that tastes a bit like cream soda, bubble gum, and banana. Of course I had to get one of those while I waited. My wife and I don't drink, so we always appreciate a nice assortment of high-end sodas. I didn't even notice if Four Rivers sold beer, but I seriously doubt it.

                              Anyway, I was bringing food home for my wife, so I figured I'd splurge and get us a lot of different things. We share everything and like to sample things, so I got a brisket dinner with three sides (fried okra, potato salad, and smokehouse corn), a "Messy Pig" sandwich of pulled pork with cole slaw and pickles with two sides added on (smoked jalapenos and macaroni and cheese), a half-order of ribs, an extra side of beans, a sausage, cheese, and jalapeno kolache pastry, and a big chocolate cupcake for my wife. It came out to $38, which is high for two people, but we would be able to make it into at least four meals.

                              The assembly line moved slowly, but everyone working was efficient and on the ball, and very friendly. I met John Rivers himself, who I recognized from the website, and told him I had read lots of good reviews and had been meaning to come in for a long time now. We fist-bumped over the glass, and I wished him all the luck in the world, not that he would need it.

                              Back at home, my wife and I kept rolling our eyes back into our heads and swooning and screaming over lunch. The food really lived up to the hype -- better than any barbecue we've ever had in Florida (and maybe elsewhere). We usually end up at Sonny's Barbecue, even though it gets trashed regularly on Chowhound. I'll always be fond of Sonny's, which helped fuel me through two degrees and seven years in Gainesville, and we live close to a location here and it's always solid. Bubbalou's is okay, Dickey's was forgettable, and I really hated O'Boys after trying it for the first time recently. But Four Rivers is in a whole different league -- far beyond any of those places on their best day.

                              The brisket was by far the best, and I agree with other posters who said that alone was well worth the drive. The pulled pork was good, but the sandwich got soggy and cold by the time I got home, due to the cole slaw. It was a great size for a sandwich, though. The ribs were amazing, meaty and smoky and juicy, very well-seasoned with a rub they sell there. My wife thought they were a little spicy, but liked them anyway. They were some of the best ribs I've ever had, that's for sure! As for the sides, I hadn't realized the smoked jalapenos would be stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. That was an extremely pleasant surprise, and I loved them. I could probably have made an entire meal just of those!

                              The beans and smokehouse corn were the other standout sides, and the potato salad was very cool and refreshing with dill, parsley, and possibly some vinegar too. The kolache was interesting -- kind of a flaky, eggy pastry that reminded me of soft challah bread. Apparently they are very big in Texas. I liked the spiciness of the sausage inside. Also, the brisket dinner came with a greasy fried biscuit that my wife just loved. They threw in a few containers of their delicious sauce -- a little spicy, but not as thick and syrupy-sweet as most commercially-bottled barbecue sauces. Don't get me wrong, I love Sonny's Sweet sauce, but this was just as good and probably even better.

                              Well, I think we're having all the same stuff for dinner, since we had so many leftovers. That is totally fine with me! I'd go back to Four Rivers in a minute, and already plan to bring some friends out there. It's kind of a logistical nightmare between the limited parking, long line, and minimal (outdoor only) seating, but I'd happily brave it again. John Rivers and his people have already filled a much-needed void in Orlando, and I'm sure the legend will only continue to grow. I just hope they find a larger space soon, because from what I experienced today, they already need it.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                                andy huse RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 26, 2010 03:41 PM

                                thanks for the great report, Lou! I missed this place on a recenmt visit to the area. Now i must venture out to the dark side of orlando to try it.

                                1. re: andy huse
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                                  Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: andy huse Feb 26, 2010 05:47 PM

                                  Dark side? Whaddaya mean? This is the side of Orlando with cool, non-theme-parky stuff and a lot fewer tourists!

                                  And Andy, that's a huge compliment coming from you as a food writer and researcher (and a fellow librarian!) I got my MA in Library and Info Science from USF in 2008.

                                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                                    andy huse RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 26, 2010 09:49 PM

                                    living in tampa, the far side of orlando can seem as distant as the dark side of the moon if you're taking I-4. more about that some other time. forgive me for my cryptic phrase. clearly, I must make the drive again.

                                    congrats on your degree, you're in good company. i've always enjoyed your input on the board.

                                    1. re: andy huse
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                                      CFishman RE: andy huse Feb 27, 2010 05:20 AM

                                      Come on Andy, I went to 4 Rivers and a movie last night at the Enzian. There was a bit of a traffic coming in but it was totally worthwhile. The brisket was good but slightly dryer than the last time I was there. I tried the bacon wrapped jalapeno. Those were good but, for me, they don't really fit into my idea of a quintessential bbq meal. It's a whole set of flavors that don't really meld into the rest of the meal. I added smoked sausage to my brisket dinner and I liked that a lot. Sides were sweet potato souffle (excellent), fries, corn, beans, and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is a bit loose and bland to my tastes but the rest of the sides were good. Dessert was carrot cake. It was very moist and almost oppressive after the huge dinner. It's a shame to go over there for just one meal. Find a way to hit Ravenous Pig and/or K Restaurant and Wine Bar at the same time. K is currently up for a James Beard award.

                                      1. re: CFishman
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                                        Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: CFishman Feb 27, 2010 07:29 AM

                                        I'd have to say the Ravenous Pig and Four Rivers are probably my favorite restaurants in Orlando now, and they're both very close to each other. I'm also partial to Aladdin Cafe in Casselberry, which has the best all-you-can-eat Middle Eastern spread I've ever seen on Friday and Saturday nights.

                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                                          CFishman RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 27, 2010 08:01 AM

                                          The middle eastern place sounds good but it's so hard to pass up Ravenous Pig and the others. Have you been to that new chili place downtown? I looked for it but couldn't find it.

                                          1. re: CFishman
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                                            Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: CFishman Feb 27, 2010 09:00 AM

                                            My wife isn't into chili at all, but I may try it next time she goes out of town. :)

                                            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                                              Lostmoggie RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 27, 2010 12:25 PM

                                              Yes thanks Lou, I now really need to go to four rivers, maybe tomorrow. And did someone mention chilli? Is there a really good one?

                                              1. re: Lostmoggie
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                                                CFishman RE: Lostmoggie Feb 27, 2010 06:47 PM

                                                I read a review of Chili Daddy somewhere but have not been myself.

                                                Chili Daddy
                                                2603 E South St
                                                Orlando, FL 32803
                                                www.chilidaddy.com

                                        2. re: CFishman
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                                          andy huse RE: CFishman Feb 27, 2010 08:01 PM

                                          trust me, Mr. Fishman, it was bad. the cosmos conspired against me. but lunch at the Ravenous Pig was pleasant, if a little disappointing. More about that later.

                                          1. re: andy huse
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                                            CFishman RE: andy huse Feb 28, 2010 03:57 AM

                                            Andy,

                                            The traffic was bad? The bbq? Ravenous Pig was disappointing? I'm on pins and needles.

                                            1. re: CFishman
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                                              andy huse RE: CFishman Feb 28, 2010 09:27 AM

                                              a sorta mini review will be out soon for the Pig. It was a let down.

                                              1. re: andy huse
                                                askdrtodd RE: andy huse Feb 28, 2010 11:39 AM

                                                sad to see this, first couple time i went it was killer, last couple times i went it was disappointing.

                                          2. re: CFishman
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                                            herbert1 RE: CFishman Mar 1, 2010 07:25 AM

                                            "The brisket was good but slightly dryer than the last time I was there."

                                            I noticed that as well. I think they had cooked it a little longer than usual.

                                            1. re: herbert1
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                                              CFishman RE: herbert1 Mar 1, 2010 11:19 AM

                                              Well, I am glad that I was not the only one. BBQ is like that. They are cooking those briskets for 18 hours and its impossible to have it perfect for every customer. One clear difference is that the first couple of times I was offered a choice between fat or lean, which I was not on Friday. Oddly, I had the ribs the first time and I found them to tender. On Friday the woman next to me had ordered them and they looked perfect to my eye. BBQ is a crapshoot most of the time. Thanks for confirming my impression.

                                    2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                      pdpredtide RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 23, 2010 09:47 PM

                                      awesome report lou!

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                                      taylork65 RE: fsupilam33 Mar 4, 2010 05:39 AM

                                      4 Rivers is a refreshing change from the norm in Orlando. I am over OBoys and Bubbalous is getting stale.

                                      My only gripe is the location. Parking sucks and come summer eating outside will be a sweat-fest.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: taylork65
                                        max5d RE: taylork65 Dec 15, 2010 03:02 PM

                                        How about Keller's in Altamonte Springs on Hwy 434 just south of 436? I love the food here. Great meats and very delicious sauces. Anyone else like this place?

                                      2. Sandwich_Sister RE: fsupilam33 Mar 23, 2010 11:03 AM

                                        I just went for lunch and loved it. Lunch can get a bit crazy but we were able to order and eat in about 35 minutes. We got there around 1130am.

                                        The messy pig sandwich was delicious, as were the fried pickels, green beans, and fries. The only problem I have is that when lunch is busy they can't keep the lids on to keep the food hot. This results in varying temps for different items. The pulled pork on my sandwich was just warm while my fried pickles had just came out and were screaming hot.

                                        It was still so good though. The only problem I had was with the potato salad. I was looking for more of a southern style with the eggs, potatoes, mayo, mustard, onions, and relish or pickles what I got was a sweet dressing not enough tanginess over diced up potatoes, not horrible, just not what I was looking for.

                                        The smoked jalopenos is something my husband makes on his smoker, and they are just as delicious as my husbands, the filling was a tad different but just as awesome.

                                        If you don't have time to smoke your own, head on down, it's worth the 15-30 minute wait.

                                        Girls in heels beware the gravel bed up to the restaurant, and parking isn't great but you can park across the street at the church during the lunch rush.

                                        1. g
                                          gfr1111 RE: fsupilam33 May 16, 2010 06:36 AM

                                          I do not pretend to any expertise on barbeque. I guess like a lot of people, I know what I like, but barbeque is not something I seek out most of the time. Barbeque three or four times a year is good enough for me. That having been said, I was not as impressed with 4 Rivers Smokehouse as the vast majority of people were above.

                                          The good part of my experience was that the half rack of St. Louis-style ribs which I ordered were cooked well and moist, with an admirable crustiness. Service during the lunch hour rush (at 11:15) was busy, but efficient, considering the volume of people who had to be served.

                                          The less good part of my experience was that they only have one barbeque sauce for the picnic tables in back. There are multiple containers, but they all hold the same barbeque sauce. If you like that sauce, fine. It you don't, you're stuck with it. It was okay, but a little sweet for my taste and not hot (spicy) enough.

                                          I had corn bread salad and macaroni and cheese sides. Both sides were so-so. The corn bread salad was tossed salad with a large amount of corn bread tossed in and fairly bland. The mac and cheese seemed to have been concocted of Cheese Whiz and macaroni.

                                          I had read reviews on this board before I went, but this was a spur-of-the-moment, I-just-got-out -of-my-business-appointment-early, sort of visit. I had not realized that this was basically a take-out place with a few picnic tables out back. Despite my opinion, others feel differently, and seating, even at 11:15, is difficult, to say the least. Parking is a nightmare.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: gfr1111
                                            Sandwich_Sister RE: gfr1111 May 16, 2010 09:38 AM

                                            I tend to agree with a lot of what you said. I had the messy pig sandwich when I went and it did not need additional sauce so I didnt notice they only have one sauce.

                                            I think they could make some adjustments and they would go from a great restaurant to an excellent restaurant.

                                            I was not impressed with some of their sides. The smoked jalopenos wrapped in bacon are good, and so were the fried pickles I had. The green beans were okay and I was not impressed with the potato salad.

                                            I need to get back to try their grits. I hear they are delicious.

                                            I think the rave reviews come from the fact that the area over there was in need of a good smoked BBQ joint, It's really good and people are flocking to it. Also I hear that the man who owns it is a very nice guy who used to BBQ for charity and still does a lot of charity work. So it's really nice to support a local good guy.

                                            I'll be going back, even though parking sucks, and there is a line. I've got to try the burnt ends.

                                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister
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                                              Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: Sandwich_Sister May 16, 2010 11:39 AM

                                              After raving about it here a few months ago, I finally got to try 4 Rivers again on Friday. The ribs, brisket, and smoked jalapenos were awesome as usual, and I finally got to try the cheese grits. They came in sort of a "brick" and reminded me more of potatoes au gratin than traditional grits. As such, I liked them (and I don't usually care for grits), but my wife, who is a grits-lover, didn't like these so much. I still love their sauce, and while it is a little sweet, it has a lot more kick to it than Sonny's sweet barbecue sauce or most store-bought brands.

                                              I arrived at what I hoped would be an off time for them, around 4 PM on Friday, but still had to circle the entire block a few times before I could find a parking space. When I was finally ready to leave with my to-go order, it was harrowing to have to pull out of the tiny gravel lot in reverse while two other people had pulled in, effectively trapping my car as they jockeyed for my space.

                                              I did ask one of the perky counter-girls if there was any talk about moving to a larger location. She said there was some rumor about expanding the current location slightly (hopefully they'll add more parking!), but she had also heard a bit of talk about relocating to Windemere. WINDEMERE?! I certainly hope not. Their current location is inaccessible enough. Come to the Seminole County 'burbs, 4 Rivers, or just find a bigger space in Winter Park -- please!

                                              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
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                                                fsupilam33 RE: Big Bad Voodoo Lou Oct 26, 2011 02:15 PM

                                                You are in luck. Word has it they bought the property where j&w landscaping was right down the street. Building a new place on a nice size piece of land.

                                                1. re: fsupilam33
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                                                  Big Bad Voodoo Lou RE: fsupilam33 Oct 26, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                  Great news, plus their new Longwood location is supposed to be opening in November, with a bakery and an old-fashioned ice cream and soda fountain. It'll have ample parking and indoor seating, right off I-4 on SR 434.

                                            2. re: gfr1111
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                                              herbert1 RE: gfr1111 May 17, 2010 06:12 AM

                                              Went back again last week, the brisket was excellent. I eat it without any additional sauce. I agree the original sauce is to sweet, but they have started offering a hotter sauce as an alternative. The Jalopeno peppers were out of this world good, most of the rest of the apps I have had there in the past were average.

                                            3. pdpredtide RE: fsupilam33 May 18, 2010 04:59 AM

                                              im not going to be nit picky, it was pretty delicious bbq compared to some of the other places in orlando, probably some of the best

                                              pic of the texas destroyer ! what a great sandwich lol, i took some other pics and put them up for those curious at what it looks like when you get there http://tastychomps.blogspot.com/2010/...

                                               
                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: pdpredtide
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                                                hydro13 RE: pdpredtide Jun 3, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                i hate to disagree with such avid bbq fans like myself, but i don't get it. i had the ribs and my wife had the pulled pork and overall we were both dissapointed. the pork was pre sauced to the point where the meat flavor did not come through, and the ribs to me were under smoked and under seasoned. i found myself working on them a bit more than i like. i know they shouldnt fall off the bone like steaming, but my teeth got a workout.
                                                i get that they are texas style, which normally means a non-aggressive rub, but this tasted like just salt and pepper. it seemed like they kiss it on a grill too before they serve it and it reminded me of something people make in their backyard. the sauce was good. spicy and complex. but to me, real bbq is judged first without sauce, and since they pre sauced it, makes me wonder if they're hiding something. our first time there we had the mac n cheese, slaw, pot. salad, and beans. the beans were really good, but the mac tasted like it had never seen an oven and reminded me a bit like cafeteria style mac n cheese.
                                                the 2nd time i went i got the brisket to see what the big deal was since i am already not a huge fan of brisket. it was good, a little dry but well smoked. i've been on chow before talking about bbq in orlando and i still truly believe no one beats blackwater(the original on orange ave). if you get there at 11am and order pulled pork and watch them hand pull it from the whole butt, its like i can feel my mouth watering. hopefully you all have been there.

                                                1. re: hydro13
                                                  pdpredtide RE: hydro13 Jun 3, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                  you are right hydro13, its good but overhyped lately

                                              2. bkhuna RE: fsupilam33 Jun 19, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                My wife and I finally made the one hour drive to 4 Rivers this morning. We ordered enough so that we could both have the brisket, ribs and pulled pork. The sides are fairly average, nothing to write home about. I enjoyed the beans and the jalapenos wrapped in bacon. If they were suppose to be stuffed with something, I couldn’t tell, but I could have eaten a plate of them just the same. We didn't have dessert although they look great. But we were there for the barbecue; all the other stuff is secondary to judging a BBQ pit. That being said:

                                                Brisket- very good, easily the best in town. It was tender and flavorful. My only beef with it was that it was sauced before I got a chance to stop them from doing so. Luckily, there was enough on the platter that I was able to pick out some without the sauce. A good solid B for this meat.

                                                Ribs - cooked absolutely perfectly with the right amount of "tug" left on the bone and a terrific balance of tenderness and texture of the meat. The sad part was that they were somewhat bland in flavor. A+ for the cooking, B- for the flavor.

                                                Now for the bad part - the Pulled Pork. Served pre-sauced out of a steam table tray, I’d bet money that in a blind-folded taste test, this gloppy meat concoction would be indistinguishable from the pulled port at Sonny's or in one of those plastic tubs at the Supermarket (although the Lloyd's brand pulled port probably has better texture). After a couple of bites, I truly got the impression that this stuff was day old and re-warmed. It was dry, with no discernable pig fat. I absolutely detest pits that pre-sauce pulled pork, but I really tried to find some merit in it. I did not succeed and the bulk of the meat went into the trash. What are they trying to hide here and why can’t they serve the pork without killing the glorious flavor of the pig. In this case, there was absolutely zero smoke or pig flavor in this meat. A big lean F for this dish.

                                                Would I again drive an hour to eat here? No. But if I’m in the area, I’d certainly stop by for the brisket. Overall 4 Rivers warrants a B compared to others in O town, however it's a solid D on the Lexington scale.

                                                p.s. I have been known to plan three day road trips just to drive up to the South for good barbecue and yes, I use Lexington NC as my gold standard for pork. I am a 250 mile barbecue fan.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: bkhuna
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                                                  mcanni RE: bkhuna Mar 2, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                  I finally got there when there was no line AND a parking spece was availiable.

                                                  Had the Beef Brisket sandwich - came unsauced as requested.

                                                  Portion size was adequate for the price.

                                                  Easily the best brisket I've had - flavor, texture just right.

                                                  Sauce is to my liking so I'm looking forward to next visit for the ribs.

                                                  Have to tip your hat to them for creating such a successful business.

                                                  Not everything is "the best" but what place has every item to your liking?

                                                  In summary - worth the visit.

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