There was quite a bit of hoopla surrounding the moving of 4Rivers Smokehouse from its original — and cramped — location on West Fairbanks Avenue to its new home a few blocks up the road. Owner and chief pitmaster John Rivers opened his new venture just three years ago in an old converted service station with scant space inside — none of which was available for dining — and some picnic tables in back next to a dusty parking lot. Perhaps he didn’t foresee how successful his barbecue joint would be. (And if he didn’t foresee that, it would be about the only business misstep he’s taken in the past three years, which have seen two more 4Rivers open.) Rivers closed the original location last weekend, and on Monday moved in to the purpose-built structure at 1600 W. Fairbanks, Winter Park. The new original location, if it can be called that, resembles the 4Rivers in Winter Garden, but it is more like the Longwood store in that it also features the company’s Sweet Shop, where, among other things, they make some crazy good ice cream.
But what’s to become of the original original space, that inadequately sized former gas station? I’m hearing that it will soon be flipping burgers at a restaurant to be called B&B Burgers – a Roadside Burger Joint. Not much is known about the new owner, as yet, but my sources say the restaurant will be operated by someone new to the business. That’s OK — this was Rivers’ first place of business, too.
So the burger craze would appear to continue its rise. Recently we’ve seen, along with the growing number of Five Guys locations, Boardwalk Burgers and BurgerFi (I’ll have my review of the latter soon).
What we haven’t seen, so far, is one of these burger flippers doing an oustanding gourmet level burger. I sort of hope B&B Burgers will do that. But then they’d end up with the same problem 4Rivers had, with lines out the door, limited places for the customers to sit and park, and upset neighbors complaining about the traffic. Then they’s have to move to a better location.
We’ll just have to wait and see.