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4 Rivers Smokehouse closes on Orange Park building

BY DAN HILDEBRAN

Monitor Editor

An affiliate of 4 Rivers Smokehouse closed on a 1.2-acre parcel and building near the intersection of Park Avenue and Old Orange Park Road on Dec. 27.

The Orlando barbecue favorite has three Central Florida locations in addition to an Archer Road restaurant in Gainesville and a Baymeadows Road address in Jacksonville.

Shortly after closing on the Orange Park property, the company announced it also plans to open its first location outside Florida, in Birmingham, Ala.

Chef and CEO John Rivers also released his first cookbook in November.

Rivers, a Jacksonville native and Bishop Kenny High School graduate, spent his first 20 years in business in the pharmaceutical industry, with stints at Johnson and Johnson, Sherwood Medical and Express Scripts.

In 2009, he opened his first restaurant in Winter Park.  Orlando Business Journal readers voted his company their favorite barbecue eatery in 2013 and Rivers was also a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Synovus Bank recorded a $3.45 million mortgage on the company’s newly acquired Orange Park property, financing the $1.35 million purchase from Park Properties Inc., easements from the owner of a Rodeway Inn just south of the property and improvements to the building, formally operated as Danny’s Bar and Grill.

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