4 Rivers Smokehouse is small central Florida chain that has recently moved into Gainesville, Florida. The 4 Rivers website describes themselves as a sophisticated Texas-style smokehouse. I think I would describe them as trendy. Sophisticated just doesn’t fit with BBQ. We have tried several BBQ places in Florida claiming to be “Texas-style” and 4 Rivers is the only one that is even close. It has the look, feel and menu of a Texas BBQ place.
They have the best brisket we have found in Florida. They even have Czech sausage or Texas sausage as 4 Rivers calls it. The sausage is from West, Texas. So far we have tried the ribs, brisket, sausage and turkey. My favorite is the sausage, I think because that is one of the things I miss the most about Texas BBQ.
Personally, as long a BBQ joint has good meat done right I really don’t care much about the sides. I guess because I really don’t like the usual sides like beans, cole slaw and potato salad. 4 Rivers has a good selection of sides. We have tried the fried pickles, armadillo eggs (jalapeno poppers), green beans, mac and cheese and bread pudding. They have the best fried pickles. Their bread pudding is amazing. I think the sandwiches that include two sides are the best value. They have an ample serving of meat and sides.
One thing that 4 Rivers needs to change to truly be Texas Style BBQ is to offer Dr Pepper. They have that awful undereducated imposter instead. I will say I haven’t missed it. 4 Rivers has a very large selection of vintage sodas as a well as Cheerwine on tap. I really like Cheerwine in my opinion it is a close 2nd to Dr Pepper.
So a BBQ place with great meat and amazing side, what more could they offer? Desserts, of course! The Sweet Shop has quite a selection of cakes, cupcakes and cookies all made in-house. We have tried the Snickerdoodle cupcakes and the Cheerwine Cupcakes. The cupcakes are big enough to share. The Big Guy even got me a cup cake instead of a birthday cake this year.
On the weekends the Sweet Shop makes Kolaches (pronounced ko-LAH-chee). Kolaches are yummy Czech pastry that is either filled with sweet fillings like cherry, blueberry etc or savory fillings like Czech sausage. The sausage kolaches are similar to pigs-in-a-blanket. Hint if you by extra kolaches for the next days breakfast store it in an air tight container.
Food: Excellent best BBQ in Florida.
Selection: Excellent. All of the usual offering brisket, ribs, sausage and turkey as well as a selection of signature sandwiches. Oh I they even have pulled pork. My recommendation is skip the fake stuff and stick with real BBQ.
Service: Excellent. The staff is always friendly and eager to help.
Atmosphere: Very nice. It looks like a real Texas BBQ joint complete with the long tables.
Allergy Rating: Very good. Not sure if they have an allergy menu. I haven’t needed one. The staff is knowledgeable and have been able to answer any questions I have.