Celebrating 14 Years of 4R Memories and Milestones in Florida

At 4 Rivers Smokehouses, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to every Guest and Team Member who has been part of our incredible journey. Whether you joined us during our humble beginnings in a garage, in a 1,300-square-foot building, or at one of our numerous Smokehouses across Florida, your support means the world to us. As we celebrate 14 years, we’d like to share 14 special memories from our dedicated team members that highlight both well-known moments and behind-the-scenes memories from over the years.

Kristin Hagerty’s Holiday Season Memories:

One of my most cherished 4R Memories occurs each year during the Holiday Season. This is when our close-knit team comes together as we prepare for the holiday rush. It’s a controlled chaos that we’ve become better at managing over the years, but it’s always an exciting time. I love driving around on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to our Smokehouses, feeling the holiday buzz, the energy in our stores, and the sparkle of Christmas Cheer everywhere.

I also love reminiscing about our cozy 1,300-square-foot Winter Park I location. It’s incredible to think about how many guests we served and the amount of food we prepared in a space smaller than some of our current dining rooms. Lifelong friendships were formed there, and it’s heartwarming to see how some of our original Winter Park I Team Members have grown into 4R leadership roles since 2009.

Courtney Banfield’s Winter Park Memories:

One of my favorite 4R memories was the weekend we transitioned from the original Winter Park 1 Smokehouse to our new Winter Park 2 Smokehouse. On Monday, July 30th, 2012, we proudly lit up the Hot Brisket Sign.

This transition marked a monumental and bittersweet time for all team members. We moved from a tiny building where our guests used to stand in long lines and dine on outdoor picnic tables. Inside our tiny kitchen, we worked tirelessly, producing an abundance of BBQ. The new Smokehouse’s dining room alone was larger than WP 1.

On the last Saturday of service at Winter Park 1, all team members and guests signed a picnic table, which we fondly referred to as “The Last Supper.” That table remains on Winter Park II Smokehouse’s patio to this day.

Melanie Horrocks and Store Openings:

My favorite 4R memories revolve around new store openings. Witnessing all of our different departments, stores, and team members coming together to introduce 4R to a new city is nothing short of magical. The collaborative efforts of all involved in preparing for that first opening day are truly exceptional, and I’m immensely grateful to be part of it.

Robin Miles and Valued Relationships:

I will forever cherish the clients who have become friends and the friends who have become clients. It has been an incredible journey over the last 14 years.

Jeff Palermo’s Notable Moments:

Two moments stand out in my 4R journey. The first was the Pulse fundraising day at Winter Park in 2016. The support we received from our teams and the community was absolutely amazing.

The second memorable moment was the opening of the Daytona Store in 2020. It happened during the week of the Daytona 500, and it was a whirlwind of excitement for our new team and all the guests eager for “their own” 4R experience.

Jared Rivers and the First Smokehouse:

The first day of Winter Park opening was truly special. Seeing it all come together for the first time was an amazing experience.

Monica Rivers Remembers an Anniversary Celebration:

One of my favorite memories was our 1-year anniversary party on the back porch of the first Smokehouse. We had an ice cream maker and a fryer out back, and we fried everything – Oreos, pop tarts, candy bars, cookies. Everyone had so much fun! We even smoked a whole pig, and all our friends and family were there.

Cameron Rivers’ Childhood Memories:

My favorite memory dates back to the early days of the very first Smokehouse. As a 6th grader, I used to beg them to let me work the phones. I would answer using a different voice or random impressions to place people on hold. Looking back, I realize how random it must have been for the people of Winter Park, but it was heartwarming that the managers in the office found it amusing.

Justine Percy and Community Support:

Among countless wonderful memories from the past 12 years, one I’ll always cherish is working at our Winter Park location in 2016. We opened on a Sunday for the very first time to support the victims and families of the Pulse shooting. The love I felt from team members and the community that day was immeasurable.

OG team members from WP1, LW, and WG worked alongside current TMs just for that day to support 4R and our community. In those 4 hours, we managed to raise $40,000, bringing light to a time of darkness. It was an honor to be part of it.

Cora Hite’s Wildlife Encounter:

One of my favorite memories was working an event at Brahma Island and getting the opportunity to see the wildlife they had on the island. I even got to pet a Zebra!

Ruthie Ryan’s Kitchen Moments:

I enjoy the mornings when John Rivers is in the kitchen cooking and whistling Christmas songs.

Patrick Wisniewski Celebrates Lakeland:

When we opened our new Lakeland location, it was amazing to see the smiles on our guests’ faces and how excited they were that we were now open in their hometown.

Brigid Kish and Serving Others

One of my favorite memories was our 10th-anniversary party where I got to serve cake.

Megan Jezierski’s First Week

The week I started, we opened our UCF Smokehouse. It was a fun way to kick off my new career.