If you ask anyone in the Orlando area about 4 Rivers Smokehouse you are going to get a reaction along the lines of “Oh. Em. Gee. I love that place!” We are lucky enough to have three in the area now – in Winter Park, Winter Garden, and Longwood. I live close to the Longwood location so that is usually the one I go to.
One of the first things that people hear about 4 Rivers is how there is always a wait. I’ve heard that in Winter Park this is still the case (on any day/night), but in Longwood it isn’t as bad. If you go on a weekday you are likely to find a very short wait and plenty of options for seating. On Friday & Saturday you will run into more of a wait. You order at the counter and at first seeing the line go out the front door will make you reconsider your dining options for the evening. But trust me when I tell you that the line moves pretty quick and it is WORTH the wait.
As I mentioned, you order at the counter so everything is laid out right there in front of you. I loved that you get to watch them make your sandwich or slice you meat and you can see all the sides. The main problem is when you get to the front of the line and think you have your mind made up and then you see all the options and suddenly feel the urge to change your mind. My suggestion? Try the sliders. You get three “mini” sliders and you can have a different meat on each one if you want. Even if you aren’t a sandwich person, this is a good way to try a couple different things and you can just ditch the buns if you want. I always get mine with 2 sides because the sides are just as good as the meats.
There are 16 sides available so there is something for everyone. I am a creature of habit, so most times I get the baked cheese grits and the fried pickles. You aren’t going here to eat healthy, so don’t try and fool anyone by ordering veggies. But if you do order veggies, know that they are going to be just as good as any of the other sides.
One of my favorite things about 4 Rivers is their Sweet Shoppe. In the Longwood location it takes up one whole half of the restaurant and you can smell the sugar the instant you cross over to that side. They have homemade ice cream, cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, and various seasonal treats. You will want to try one of everything! The main problem I have is that by the time I’m done with my meal there is no way I’m going to fit another bite in my belly, let alone one of their HUGE cupcakes. My suggestion? Take one home or make a special trip just to try their sweets. Or if you just need a taste of something sweet, head over to the ice cream counter where they will let you try a sample of any of their flavors. One note though, most of the frostings on their cupcakes and cakes are cream cheese based. I’m not a huge cream cheese frosting fan so this does cut out a good number of options for me, but I always find something I like.