A new 4 Rivers Smokehouse opened today in east Orlando near UCF making it the sixth location in Florida for the popular barbecue restaurant chain.
Around lunchtime, lines extended out the door as guests waited to place orders for slow-cooked brisket, pulled pork sandwiches and fried okra.
"This is the best turnout we've ever had for an opening," said 4 Rivers Smokehouse founder John Rivers, who greeted guests as they pigged out on pork.
Rivers said one group of 4 Rivers fanatics were waiting in lawn chairs outside the restaurant at 6 a.m. for the doors to open at noon.
"That's very humbling," he said.
William Torres, a student at UCF, said he and a group of friends arrived about an hour before noon to "beat the line." Torres ordered a pulled chicken sandwich with a side of crinkle-cut fries and mac-and-cheese.
"4 Rivers is just 4 Rivers," he said. "That's what is special about it. If you know 4 Rivers, then you know."
Since opening its first location in Winter Park in 2009, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has become one of the most successful restaurant chains in Central Florida. There are locations in Longwood, Winter Garden, Gainesville and Jacksonville.
The new location in east Orlando at 11764 University Blvd. is near Alafaya Trail and less than a mile from the University of Central Florida.
UCF graduate Courtney Cubbedge has visited the 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park several times and was excited about the new location in east Orlando.
"It's so delicious," Cubbedge said. "It is truly like home-cooked barbecue. You can't get it better anywhere else."