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“Fair price for the eats”

4 Rivers Smokehouse
Ranked #1 of 346 Restaurants in Winter Park
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $15
Cuisines: Barbecue
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Delivery, Takeout
Description: 4 Rivers is a family-owned smokehouse specializing in 30-day aged brisket, homemade southern sides and fresh bakery items.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

I've been here a few times now. Be prepared to wait in line. Even though 4R moved to a bigger location recently, lines prevail due to popularity and a fairly reasonable price for decent chow. I've tried the chicken sliders. The rolls are plain, white nothing to write home about. The chicken and sauce however, is tasty. Sides were fries, baked cheese grits and Mac and cheese. The cheese grits are the standout. Cheesy, creamy and sometimes slightly crusty when cooked long enough, these are my personal favorite. Don't let the word grits turn you off. I've also had the smoked turkey which was flavorful. My only regret is that none of the cooked veggie sides are red meat free. It may be weird, but I don't eat red meat but do enjoy the Q. I hope they have some barbecued veggies in the future. On a skewer perhaps? Service is irregular, patience definitely helps. I once had to wait over 20 minutes for a grilled quesadilla, because they forgot my order. Such is life. By the way, the brownies are divine. Chocolatey, fudgy, sweet bliss. All the desserts looked tempting and decadent.

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Thank apricotkat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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766 - 770 of 956 reviews

Reviewed November 17, 2012

I've tried 4 Rivers twice now, and it left me flat both times. It wasn't terribly, just mediocre - it definitely wasn't anywhere nearly as good as everyone makes it out to seem. There are better places to get barbeque locally, even if you go to chains.

I had the ribs, with baked beans, collards, and mac+cheese sides. The plate came with cornbread.

The ribs were mostly flavorless, and quite thin. The meat did pull easily off the bones, but the outer crust was so tough they were quite hard to chew. I NEVER leave a good rib on the plate, but I really only ate these because I was very hungry that day. The ribs at the small end of the rack were very stringy.

The beans were more sauce than beans, and they did not have much seasoning to taste. The cornbread was a disappointment. It's actually jalapeno cornbread, but they don't tell you that. The bread falls apart to the touch, so it is difficult to eat. The jalapenos overwhelm any other flavor in the bread, and its consistency gets sticky and mushy when you try to eat it, making it very hard to eat. The collards had little unappetizing chunks of ham in them, and were VERY vinegary. They were also underdone, and had far too many chunks of stem bits, and not enough leafy bits.

As I told my wife - "4 Rivers is for Northerners who don't know what good barbeque tastes like".

There was no taste of the smoke in the meat, and it was difficult to eat. The chopped meats I saw to choose from at the counter looked very dry. I almost ordered the 'Burnt Ends' plate, but from what I saw, that would have been impossible for me to get through. I don't know if 4 Rivers problem is with the smoking of the meat, or letting it sit too long at the prep table, but this place just left me flat. I 've actually had better ribs at Sonny's and Smokey Bones, and definitely had better at other local BBQ joints.

The one high note was the baked goods counter, which also had problems. There were no less than 6 employees back there, all in a very small space. They did their best for a couple of minutes to ignore me, with two of them looking right at me and saying nothing. I was the only person at the counter at the time, and obviously looked like I was ready to make a purchase.

I bought chocolate-covered oreos, which were delicious. However, the server got my cookies, took my card, and rang up my purchase without changing her gloves. She then went and served out of the ice cream cooler without changing them. Very poor food handling.

At about $16 for a half-rack of rib plate, I felt this was a poor deal.

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Thank gatormark91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sunshinestyles2010, Public Relations Manager at 4 Rivers Smokehouse, responded to this reviewResponded December 14, 2012

Dear gatormark91,
Thank you for taking so much time to detail your meal and your experience at out Winter Park location. This helps us as a team address our inefficiencies. It troubles us to learn that you left dissatisfied. We never want any of our customers leaving feeling the way you did. We ask that all customers bring any issues they may have to our attention immediately so we can correct it on the spot. Please look for a private message so we can get your contact information and have our General Manager reach out.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2012

There is a separate line for to-go orders and dine-in, so don't make the mistake we did and waste 15 minutes in the wrong line. That said, it was certainly worth the wait. The brisket, pulled pork, and both sauces were perfect for us, much like with other reviewers. One difference for us is that we genuinely loved our sides. I had baked beans and corn and my wife had fries and coleslaw. The corn, yes something as simple as corn, was extremely flavorful. I wish I knew what they put in it so mine at home could taste as good. The baked beans were good too (almost like eating a dessert), and my wife was happy that her fries were plentiful. Our only regret was not buying a bottle of BBQ sauce to go. Check this place out, you won't regret it.

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Thank MMandS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2012

Worth the wait and worth the drive! They are always busy especially in the evening time but you can call ahead and pick up your order. The chicken, pork, and beef is always steaming hot and fresh. The assembly line moves rather fast so the long line out front isn't that bad of a wait. Especially if you're waiting with friends or family.
I highly recommend this place to anyone who likes REAL bbq. Also be ready to sit with other families if it's busy because sometimes the patio seating gets full and you have to share the table.

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1  Thank Cassandra P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

My son and I were looking for a great place for BBQ on a recent business trip to Orlando. Several people at the hotel said we could not go wrong with 4 Rivers Smokehouse. When we arrived we found it to be very crowded. The line was out the door, but it was well worth the wait. First of all it was nice to have plenty of time to peruse the extensive menu and decide what we wanted. Once we got to the counter my son had already decided he wanted an order of the smoked chicken wings. I chose the Beef Brisket Dinner which not only included a heaping portion of brisket, but also three sides and a biscuit. When I ordered my brisket I watched the guy cut it up right in front of me and place it on a tray. Then it was given a healthy drizzle of BBQ sauce before being passed along to the girl who would give me my sides. I chose the mac & cheese, the 4R BBQ beans and the Smokehouse corn. When I got to the register the girl asked if we wanted drinks. I ordered an ice tea and I thought my son said he would just have water. After I paid my son asked me why I did not get him a drink and I said I must have misunderstood him. I asked the girl to ring me up once more drink and she said that it was no big deal and handed my son a drink cup. I again offered to pay, but she said again said no. The brisket was tender and delicious. I added more BBQ sauce and some hot sauce as well, but it was fine just plain. The sides were all excellent, but the Smokehouse corn was exceptional. My son said the wings were among the best he has ever had. Afterwards we visited a separate area of the restaurant called The Sweet Shop and ordered cupcakes. I got peanut butter and he got chocolate and they were both incredible. When we left the line was even longer than it was when we arrived. If you enjoy great BBQ and do not mind a little wait I think you will enjoy 4 Rivers. The food is great and they have a friendly staff.

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2  Thank SirGriffinStromboli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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