All it takes is just one taste of 18-hour, slow-smoked Angus brisket from 4 Rivers Smokehouse to fall in love with one of Central Florida’s most talked about restaurants, but it is 4 Rivers’ owner, John Rivers, and his story of success that is truly enchanting.

As a corporate executive for 20 years, Rivers ran a $1.4 billion dollar company, spending his time away from the boardroom perfecting his barbecue recipes with the help of his Texas-born wife. Friends and family enjoyed his creations until 2004 when he responded to a heartfelt call to help raise funds for a cancer-stricken six-year-old girl. Moved by the family’s story and the need to fund costly cancer treatments, Rivers organized a barbecue fundraiser that resulted in more than 500 attendees and the launch of what he dubbed his “barbecue ministry.” For the next five years, Rivers fired-up the smoker anytime a church, family, school or charity was in need of help.

Working from his garage, Rivers’ ministry quickly grew in popularity, prompting the bottling of his 4R Signature Barbecue Sauce and the ultimate leap of faith, opening the first 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, Fla. (October 2009).

Today, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has grown to include the flagship Winter Park eatery, a second location in Winter Garden and a much anticipated Longwood location to open in the fall/winter of 2011. The company strives to provide great customer service, top-quality ingredients and a business model that gives back to its respective community and faith-based organizations.

From the beginning, the attorneys of ShuffieldLowman understood the vision and passion of John Rivers. Together they have worked strategically with John to create a corporate structure that provides protection of his brand and recipes, and also positions the company for future growth. The corporate structure includes separate entities for management of the restaurants, catering, merchandising, intellectual property and, of course, the various restaurants. In addition, the firm has been instrumental in raising capital for the 4 Rivers Smokehouse restaurants by working with John in creating a structure that would appeal to investors and by preparing all necessary offering documents to comply with SEC regulations for private offerings.