4 Rivers Smokehouse construction approved
The City approved construction for 4 Rivers Smokehouse at the former Roadhouse Grill in Baymeadows. The Winter Park-based 4 Rivers is owned by Jacksonville native John Rivers and the "4" represents Rivers, his wife and two children.
Rivers, the chef, owner and pit master, plans to open the 125-seat Baymeadows restaurant in May.
The Friedrich Watkins Co. of Orlando is the contractor for the $900,000 project.
Build-out includes interior and exterior alterations for a 125-seat restaurant on the 1.13-acre site.
The project consists of interior renovations of 7,120 square feet of space and another 1,840 square feet of exterior patio seating at the restaurant.
The address is 9220 Baymeadows Road, not far from Interstate 95.
The Daily Record reported in December that Rock 4R 1 LLC, based in Winter Park, paid $720,000 for the property for development of Jacksonville's first 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Rock 4R bought the property from CNL Funding 2000-A LP.
Rivers has three restaurants in the Orlando area and plans a restaurant in Gainesville as well.
Rivers said in October that his plans to open in his hometown of Jacksonville "caused quite the stir among my friends and family."
"As you can imagine, I'm especially excited about this particular opening and being able to bring my brand back home," he said.
Rivers said in an email he grew up in the Southside and graduated in 1984 from Bishop Kenny High School. His first job was at The Loop Pizza Grill in San Marco. The Loop was founded by Mike and Terry Schneider and is Jacksonville-based.
"I started washing dishes for Mike the day I turned 16 and stayed with him until I graduated and moved away to college in '84," Rivers said.
Rivers graduated from Florida State University and spent 20 years in health care, settling in Orlando in 1999.
The 4rsmokehouse.com site says Rivers had experience managing a pharmaceutical and distribution operation before "opening one of the fastest growing new restaurants in the Southeast with his Texas-inspired 4 Rivers Smokehouses."
According to the website, Rivers is the former president of CuraScript Specialty Distribution, described as a $1.4 billion pharmaceutical operation. He also held the positions of director of the Strategic Business Group for Johnson & Johnson, Cordis Division and vice president of National Accounts for American Home Products.
"These experiences parlayed into the business strategies for his new company formed in 2007," it said, which was 4R Ventures LLC, the parent company of 4R Restaurant Group, which opened its first location in October 2009; 4R Foods; and 4R Signature Products, which manufactures and distributes the 4R line of sauces, rubs and smoked brisket throughout the United States.
Rivers also launched a line of sauces and rubs along with mail-order brisket, turkey and desserts.
In an October news release from the company, Rivers said the Jacksonville restaurant will be the largest location to date.
Rivers said the restaurant will provide "our award-winning brisket and Texas-inspired cuisine, as well as serve the North Florida community as a whole."
The Jacksonville Smokehouse will include The Sweet Shop, a bakery concept begun in 2011 featuring Southern-inspired cookies, bars, cupcakes and cakes.
Rivers said in the release that both new locations are not far from a college campus – the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Property records show the existing Baymeadows restaurant building was built in 1983 and sold in 1998 by Quincy's Restaurants Inc. to CNL APF Partners LP, which sold it in July 2000 to CNL Funding 2000-A LP.
The first three 4 Rivers Smokehouse restaurants are in Winter Park, Winter Garden and Longwood. The website shows those restaurants are open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The Sweet Shop opens at 7 a.m.
An online menu lists sandwiches; smoked ribs, chicken, wings and jalapenos; "stackers" such as the "messy pig" of pork between two layers of slaw, pickles and jalapeno smothered with 4R sauce; premium items such as leg of lamb; salads; sides; and a la carte items, such as smoked prime rib.
Dinner plates include brisket, pork, turkey, sausage, chicken, prime rib, ribs and "burnt ends." Prices start about $11. Kids' meals are available, too.
Desserts include several offerings, including puddings, cupcakes and fried Oreos (three for $2.25). There's also kolache, a pastry that comes filled with fruit; sausage and cheese; or sausage, jalapeno and cheese.
According to the site and the release, 4 Rivers won recognition for "Best Barbecue" from at least four publications, including the Orlando Sentinel.
Rivers has appeared on morning news shows and has been recognized in magazines and websites as well as being featured in the "Cooking with Paula Deen" magazine.
The 4 Rivers Smokehouse is not to be confused with the 4 Bones Barbecue that opened recently at 14286 Beach Blvd.
Signs for Soul Food, Johnny Angels
• The City approved a wall sign for Soul Food Bistro at 11876 Atlantic Blvd. Custom Graphics & Sign Design is the contractor for the $13,050 project.
• Johnny Angels is putting up a banner sign at its 3546 St. Johns Bluff Road S., No. 120, restaurant from Feb. 13-May 16.
SweetFrog opening in Baymeadows
The City approved build-out for SweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt in the Baymeadows area at 9930 Baymeadows Road. Brink Construction Group Inc. is the contractor for the $68,000 project.
The City also approved a wall sign at a cost of $2,450.
It would be the ninth SweetFrog in the area.
SweetFrog already has four locations in Jacksonville, one in Jacksonville Beach and one in Orange Park, according to its website, sweetfrog.com.
The site says SweetFrog shops are opening soon in Mandarin Corners at 10991 San Jose Blvd., Suite 6, and in Ponte Vedra Beach. The Baymeadows site is not listed.
The six area SweetFrog locations open are:
• 13475 Atlantic Blvd., Suite 14
• 1661 Riverside Ave., No. 128
• 4413 Town Center Parkway, No. 218
• 1518 University Blvd. W.
• 1094 N. Third St. in Jacksonville Beach
• 1581 County Road 220 E., No. 100, Orange Park