John Rivers Planning 4Rivers Smokehouse Plus Bakery and Butcher for Longwood

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EXCLUSIVE -- John Rivers, the owner of the wildly popular 4Rivers Smokehouse barbecue restaurant in Winter Park, is continuing with his plans to expand and bring his tasty ‘cue to the world, or at least to more Central Floridians. His second location, in Winter Garden, is still a month or two away. But he’s already thinking about the next location, and this one will be different in a couple of ways.

Rivers has his eye on the Crispers space in the Longwood Village Shoppes on State Road 434 just off Interstate 4. It isn’t a done deal, but he says that all the parties are in agreement, and they’re now at the negotiating phase. “Lot’s of negotiating still,” he cautions. If it goes through, it will be the first of his restaurants that would not be in a free-standing structure, but rather "inline" in a strip mall.

It would also have more room, and that, says Rivers, would allow him to offer a little bit more. He wants to add a butcher and bakery to the smokehouse concept. “I’ve always wanted to do a full fresh bakery,” he told me, and a “pure butcher shop” where he could make his own pastrami and corned beef. Of course, this is just a bone’s throw away from Petty’s Meats, but Rivers says what he has in mind will be something different.

Should be good. Rivers has demonstrated a knack for good business sense. Plus, he obviously understands that the quality of the product is a key ingredient. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe they’ll be something exciting up Longwood way by, say, October.

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