13 Memories for 13 Years of 4 Rivers

In honor of our 13th birthday we reached out on social media and asked you what your favorite 4 Rivers memories were. Thank you for allowing us to share your special moments with everyone. It is humbling and impactful to see how we have been a part of so many lives.

Here’s 13 of our favorites and here’s to the next 13!

1.Edmund Lukas Young

“Celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary at the Longwood location in March of 2021. Everyone told them when they got married that they wouldn’t last 5 years, and they rang in 50 years! Bittersweet as it was also their last anniversary before losing Dad later that year.”

2. Amethyst Baxley

“Getting engaged at the Longwood 4R!”

3. Michelle Kutcher

“We had waited years to adopt a child and had spent many times enjoying BBQ at your Longwood location before we got the call that we were matched with a baby girl! Fast forward a year and we were celebrating our baby’s first birthday! My family had traveled from Memphis for the special celebration and we had to all enjoy dinner together as a family. The COOP was the perfect place to do that! We are forever grateful for how family oriented 4 Rivers is and for their incredible values. Thank you! And now BOTH my girls love 4 Rivers!”

4. Chris Hanes

“My daughter Caroline and I have been going regularly since 2012. She was 5 years old back then and is 15 now. When her mom got remarried, they moved down to Orlando (I’m in Ocala) and I tell people that 2 of the few things I like about Orlando are date nights with my daughter (we’re having one tonight) and 4 Rivers. At the original location on Fairbanks, there was an employee who was named Caroline as well and she would always bring my Caroline a small ice cream cone each time we went. Between that, the brisket, and our conversations each visit, I have so many fond memories. Congratulations on becoming a teenager, 4 Rivers. Here’s to many more!”

5.  Shont’a

“My favorite smokehouse memory was standing in line on the first ever Sunday opening of the Winter Park location after the Pulse Massacre. I remember so much of our community waiting in line for hours for the opportunity to give back to the families affected. The Smokehouse employees were absolutely incredible, bringing free beverages and food samples to us while we waited in line. So many of us were completely full by the time we reached the front of the line, we could have very well stepped out of line and went home satisfied. However, the bond we created in that line made us completely compelled to support our community as it mourned the senseless act. I remember driving home in tears completely blown away by the experience!”

6. Trent Farrar

“My dad was battling a brain tumor and was at St. Joseph’s in Tampa. I would drive an hour every evening after work over to see him. The night he was released, we celebrated with dinner at 4R. I’ll never forget how much that dinner meant to me still having him around.”

7. Mikey Morales 

“Since 2016 my wife and I have spent every marriage anniversary at the 4R on University for dinner because, at the time, we were living out of a hotel. We went to that location so much with our three kids for lunch, one day, one of the staff brought the 5 of us a card signed by everyone in the kitchen, thanking us for allowing them to be a part of our family. It was pretty awesome. They also gave us a cupcake.”

8. Walker Jordan

“My favorite 4 Rivers memory was when you catered my wedding. Everything was absolutely amazing especially the mini Six Shooter in a shot glass. Absolutely loved it and now we get a cake from the Sweet Shop in the amaretto flavor we had for anniversaries. Thanks for making an amazing day even better! (Plus the tasting was fun because we got to try menu items that we had never had before.)”

9. John Racliffe

“Our mens group was celebrating one of our member’s new job and eventual move to Detroit, when we dined at the Winter Park location. The Sweet Shop had recently opened, and we decided to sample a couple of the goodies being we were celebrating and all… So as we sat there John Rivers made his way over to our table and asked us how we enjoyed the desserts. We replied that they were pretty great and then he just started bringing more desserts to our table for us to sample. I’m assuming they were new introductions that he was testing out and what better people to test them out on! John, thank you for your hospitality and phenomenal food. Wishing you another great 13 years!”

10. Ben Bright

“My buddy took me to the original location back when it was the only location. I was in town to take a professional licensing exam, one he had already taken and passed, so he knew. We sat out back and ate the best BBQ I have ever eaten. He raved about the Smoked Jalapeños and I still get them every time. Since then I’ve eaten at all of the Orlando area locations and a few others. I had the great pleasure to met Mr. Rivers when the Jacksonville location opened. I passed the exam I took and every time I set foot in a 4R I remember all that went into that first time.”

11. Jami Lynn

“My husband was working for the military in the Middle East and I was visiting the States for the first time in months. The glorious smells of BBQ and hickory smoke overwhelmed me as I exclaimed (much louder than I intended to), “It smells SO GOOD in here!” I got a few grins and chuckles from the people in the back.”

12. Kimberley Backfisch Kenney

“My husband and I had always talked about serving BBQ at our wedding, so when the time came (we’ll be celebrating 11 years this coming March), there was no doubt that 4 Rivers would be catering our reception! I have a vivid memory of going to our “tasting” and the catering manager at the time telling us, “you’re one of our first weddings, just tell us what you want and we’ll make it happen!” We put our trust into 4 Rivers to feed over 100 guests and to this day, people still talk about how it was some of the best wedding food they’ve had! I even remember guests loading up “to-go” plates of leftover mac & cheese at the end of the night, haha! Still today, the taste of 4 Rivers brings me back to our wedding.”

13. Sarah Story

“I have never liked barbecue. My husband used to work around the corner of Winter Park 1. He would come home raving about this new barbecue restaurant. I would say, “No! You know I don’t eat that stuff.” Well I caved one day and met him for lunch there. It was the best food I have ever eaten. To this day, 13 years later when anyone asked about food; I always say 4 Rivers. Our daughter ate her very first solid food at Winter Park 1. It was the baked beans.”