Wednesday, June 1, 2016

4 Rivers to Make Atlanta Debut on Marietta Street

Rendering of 4 Rivers Smokehouse Atlanta 
Barbecue chain plans Georgia debut

Chef John Rivers of Winter Park, Florida-based 4R Restaurant Group has signed his first lease in Atlanta.  

The first 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Atlanta will be on Marietta Street next to Thumbs Up Diner in the old fire station No. 16.  The fire station opened in early 1915 and was there until 1963 when it relocated to its current 1048 Joseph E. Boone Boulevard location.   

According to the 4Rivers website, the restaurant will be the chain's 14th location and is expected to open mid next year.    The two story building is about 4,100 square feet and will be renovated to suit the needs of the restaurant.  Due to it being an historic structure, there are limitations to the modifications that can be made. A rendering of the restaurant does indicate that a second story patio will be added to the front of the building, with a street level patio below it.     

4 Rivers specializes in brisket but also features barbecued chicken, ribs, pork and assorted other meats.  The menu also features sandwiches and salads as well as "Kids Corral" kids menu.     

As explained on the 4 Rivers 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."  

 The website also explains the history of the restaurant:  "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."  

Last year, Rivers indicated that he was in "lease negotiations" for two sites in Atlanta: Midtown and Buckhead.  It is believed that this is the "midtown" location previously referenced and that the Buckhead location either is not finalized or fell through.  There is also speculation that 4Rivers may be in talks to take over the former H. Harper Station on Memorial Drive in Reynoldstown, but that rumor has yet to be substantiated.  Similar to the Marietta Street location, the Memorial Drive site would also be a historic site, but would provide the benefit of having already been converted to a restaurant.      

On Marietta Street, 4 Rivers will be opening a short distance from Twin Smokers, an upscale BBQ restaurant in David Marvin's Luckie Marietta District.  If a 4 Rivers does come to fruition on Memorial Drive, it would be up against competition from one of Atlanta's more popular hole-in-the-wall "joynt's," Daddy D'z.     

Chef Rivers will be in Atlanta tomorrow at "Destination Delicious," a special event that is part of this weekend's Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.  The event takes place at American Spirit Works on Armour Drive and "will showcase the flavors and traditions of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and more."   

Have you been to 4 Rivers Smokehouse?  Are you excited for their upcoming opening?  Where else in metro Atlanta would you like to see 4 Rivers open?     

Please share your thoughts below.  


Greenwave said...

Great news. I visited the Winter Park(Orlando) location and it was pretty good. I'll visit them when they open.

Anonymous said...

I've been to the one in Jacksonville, FL and they don't serve alcohol. Don't know if this is through the whole chain or not. The food was pretty good and they have a nice in house bakery.

Ham said...

Sounds good and the artist rendering looks neat. However, am I the only one that wonders if gourmet burgers and BBQ is the new FROYO? I realize that the restaurant industry, like many others, may survive on various trends, but I question if all these somewhat similar new restaurants can make it. Then again does it really matter? I mean when someone opens a restaurant how long do they really plan to be in business before they close. Are these businesses really just short term investments and not really intended to be long stays in the community.

Unknown said...

John Rivers is the real deal. We are from Orlando and moved here 5 years ago. We have missed 4R so much! There is no comparison here in Atlanta. I have prayed for this and am so glad to see it finally becoming a reality.

Anonymous said...

Its about time. I haven't there for years, every time i go to Orlando. Was told 3 years ago they were coming

Anonymous said...

Hey there, I actually work at 4Rivers currently and have started serving alcohol now so if that was a concern for you, it's solved!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this place! Can't wait for the opening in the ATL. Need one on the south side of town, too!

Anonymous said...

I was in Jacksonville last weekend and I tried 4 Rivers Smokehouse. I was way better than Fox Brothers BBQ. The staff was a class act. They also have a bakery inside the Jacksonville location. This will be a nice addition to Atlanta. The sooner they open, the better.

Unknown said...

I've worked for this company when I lived in Gainesville for 2+ years. I now reside in ATL and I'm thrilled to have 4Rivers coming here!!! Good stuff

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