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John Rivers

4Rivers Smokehouse

Retiring as president of a $1.5 billion dollar company, John Rivers left a career of twenty years in Healthcare to follow a lifelong dream of running a restaurant. In 2009 John opened his first concept, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which quickly became one of the fastest growing restaurants in the southeast. With thirteen locations in Florida and one soon to open in Atlanta, the success and popularity of his 4 Rivers Smokehouse and his second concept, the Southern-inspired COOP, have garnered national recognition. Nation’s Restaurant News, the industry’s lead trade publication, recognized 4 Rivers as one of their top five breakout brands.  Restaurant Business named John as one of the Power 20 Leaders in the restaurant industry, Orlando Magazine included him among Orlando’s “50 Most Powerful, 15 to Watch” and in 2013, John was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

John has twice been honored to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and has enjoyed participating at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival for the last 6 consecutive years.  He has appeared on numerous television shows and has been featured in national publications including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit,, USA Today, Cigar Aficionado, Business Insider, Cooking Light Magazine, and Paula Deen Magazine.  John also authored his first book, “The Southern Cowboy Cookbook,” that has enjoyed success at Barnes & Noble, Costco and and launched a line of retail and manufactured products currently enjoying shelf space at Publix & Fresh Market and being distributed nationally by partners such as Sysco and Aramark. 

A graduate of Florida State University College of Business, where he serves on the Board of Governors, John chairs the 4R Foundation and serves on the boards of numerous school, church, and charity organizations. He is the co-founder of two annual charity festivals: “Cows ‘n Cabs” in Winter Park, FL and “Pink & Swine” in Tallahassee, FL, and lives in Winter Park with his wife Monica and two children, Jared and Cameron.

More about John Rivers

What is your ultimate comfort food?Fried ChickenIf you weren't a chef, what would you be?A WinemakerWhat three things are always in your pantry?Chips, Cheerios, PastaIf you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?Francis Mallman