Friday, November 6, 2009

Four Rivers Smokehouse - DT

Four Rivers Smokehouse
2103 W. Fairbanks Ave.

John Rivers has blessed our community for the past five years catering fund raisers for various charities. Now his Texas smoked family recipe has developed into a full time concept located on the corner of Fairbanks and Formosa just one block east of I-4. I watched for weeks as the small brake shop was transformed and it soon became clear we were in for some new barbecue. Just walking into The Four Rivers Smokehouse is a treat. The smell alone was enough to get me hooked. I had the misfortune of walking in a few days before they officially opened and was kindly turned away. But I made up for it by going back three times this week. In a word, WOW!

I actually heard other patrons say it as they tried the signature slow smoked brisket, Texas sausage or the generous pile of pulled pork. I found that Mr. Rivers (not to be confused with long time Orlando entrepreneur Chef Johnny Rivers) cares about the details and if you’ve read my reviews before you’d know that I find big joy in small things. Like the side dishes. You don’t just get corn, you get roasted corn. Another side is called cornbread salad, but they forget to mention the bacon pieces and tangy red bell pepper. The mac and cheese, well it’s just mac and cheese but it’s really good mac and cheese. And the baked beans are everything I imagined baked beans should be. Meaty and sweet with a hearty spice, this is how baked beans should taste.
I just couldn’t pass on anything to make room for desert but the carrot cake and banana pudding are calling my name. I look forward to my next opportunity to try the smoked chicken salad, cheese grits, bacon wrapped cheesy jalapenos or St. Louis style ribs. I would like the line (there is always a line) to go a little faster however, you can always call it in ahead of time or you could just take in the smokehouse aroma while you wait. I really enjoy the outside seating during the fall. I may be getting it to go when the summer heat returns. Now that I’m a regular, I would dare say that thanks to John and his family recipes, I would not be surprised if Winter Park becomes “known” for its barbecue.

Stackers – Sandwich and two sides less than $10
Staff – Genuine and kind.
Seating – Outside with some of Winter Park’s finest.
Smell – Consider it an appetizer.