September 18, 2019

Orlando Sentinel: John Rivers says 4 Rivers Smokehouse to add more Florida restaurants


John Rivers CEO of 4 Rivers Smokehouse talks 10-year anniversaryPhoto: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel

The origins of 4 Rivers Smokehouse trace back to John Rivers smoking meat for fundraisers to help the community.

In October, it will be 10 years since the original 4 Rivers Smokehouse opened in Winter Park. Since then, the restaurant group has expanded, adding brands like Winter Park’s The Coop and growing the Smokehouse chain. A 15th Smokehouse is set to open in Daytona Beach this winter as restaurants have been added across Florida and in Atlanta.

Rivers’ work in the community has also continued. In one instance, the chain opened most of its locations on Sunday to benefit relief efforts in the Bahamas after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

He recently talked about his time in the restaurant industry, expansion plans and helping the Bahamas. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Orlando Sentinel