Tag Archives: 4 Rivers Barbeque

A Good Sign

16 Jul


Judy Wills


Frequently, I come across something that peaks my interest. I’ve shared some of those things with you who read my posts. We’ve seen “good signs” in stores and eateries, and even in the hospitals we’ve been in.

All that brings to my mind a sign we have seen in our favorite barbecue restaurant. You see….we were introduced to 4 Rivers bbq some time ago, but their restaurant was far enough away from where we live that we didn’t get there very often – only if we were in that part of town for some reason.




Consequently, when we discovered that a 4 Rivers restaurant was being built about 10 minutes from our house, we were over-joyed! It has become one of our favorite places to eat. Nothing “fancy” about it, but the food is terrific! In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that 4 Rivers catered the meal for the “joint replacement reunion” (please see my post of January 22, 2017).

We are also pleased that the restaurant is closed on Sundays. They believe that everyone within their employ should have the day/time to attend a worship service of their choice, and so they have a Sunday to do so.

They have several “signs” placed around the restaurant, but this one has taken my fancy! See what you think:


From the 4 Rivers website:

“4 Rivers had its humble beginnings. Just me, a smoker, and an age-old challenge—cooking brisket.”

John Rivers never set out to create the most successful BBQ chain in Florida. He’s not a classically trained chef or graduate of culinary school. It was in Texas that he found the two loves of his life: his wife and the delicate art of brisket. And it’s been those very two godsends that inspired 4 Rivers as we know it.

John spent 20 years in the healthcare industry before retiring as president of a billion-dollar company. During that time, he had the opportunity to travel the country, honing his taste and talent for brisket perfection. As he soaked up the flavors and practices of ‘cue fare countrywide, John’s dream of de-regionalizing BBQ was born.


“This was never supposed to be a restaurant. My definition of helping meant doing what felt most natural when comfort was in order—feed those in need.”

4 Rivers Smokehouse began with the launch of the “Barbecue Ministry” in 2004, when John hosted a cookout fundraiser to support a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer. This one event resulted in a passion for supporting local schools, churches, and charitable organizations, and a few years later, smoking thousands of pounds of meat out of a garage just wouldn’t cut it anymore.

 After trials, tribulations, and a whole lot of burnt ends, we finally flipped that “Hot Brisket Now” sign on in October of 2009. Within the first hour, a line had formed out the door…and then around the corner.

 Today, we have several locations across the state of Florida, with plans for continued expansion and more than 1,000 amazing folks on our 4 Rivers team. Most importantly, the Barbecue Ministry remains our foundation and focus, and will until the cows come home.


So the “sign” we find there goes right along with their beginnings and policies. We enjoy the food, the atmosphere…and their signs!

Also from their website:


 Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden. Now you know!

The Reunion

22 Jan


Judy Wills


Have you ever been to a family reunion? Ever heard of families having a reunion? My family has never really had one. Our little family gets together quite often, and so we don’t consider it a “reunion” as such. My father was one of 13 children, but most of them lived close to each other, and there wasn’t any need for a reunion.

But there are other kinds of reunions. Fred and I attended one just this week. In August of 2015, I had a total knee replacement at Celebration Health in Kissimmee, Florida.




I was in the hospital for four days, under the care of the nurses there. While there, they told me about the “Joint Replacement Reunion” that the hospital sponsors each year. Now that I am included in the “joint replacement” crowd, I am always and will be forever eligible to participate in the annual reunion. Included in the reunion are those with knee, hip, shoulder replacement, and any other “joint” that has been replaced.




Our first reunion was in January 2016. We were eager to experience this – but turns out that a MAJOR storm was passing through! Everything was under the tent – and the wind and rain blew so hard at times that we were afraid the tent would blow down! Fortunately, it didn’t. The advertised event was to be held rain or shine.




One of the “events” is a walk around part of the hospital complex. That didn’t happen last year! But this year, it did. It was a nice walk, and some of the sports orthopedic doctors were in attendance with those of us walking. Nice to converse with them along the way.

Last year, since the walk didn’t happen, some of the nurses set the music, and got a “conga-line” going. Quite a few of the reunion participants joined in that dance. It was fun to watch. My new knee was only five months old, and I wasn’t up to that.

There were people running around, helping out, that had on dark blue t-shirts that proclaimed the reunion. I was amused to see the back of the shirts, and asked one lady if I could take a picture of it. Here it is. Cute, huh?




After the walk, a meal was served. Last year, we were pleased to see that the hospital had the meal catered by 4Rivers Smokehouse – one of our favorite bbq places!! And they catered it again this year. Yay!



Credit Google search and Adam J.V.


We thought 4Rivers was just a local Mom-n-Pop place that had expanded a bit (there is now one near us in Kissimmee). But to my surprise, I found online that there are 14 restaurants, with one coming to Atlanta later this year. The rest are in Florida.

Here is a short tidbit from their website:


Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden

Here are a few pictures of this year’s event:




Debra – one of my favorite nurses manning a registration table



The big tent



The starting line for the walk

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