Answer Man

Adventures in Parking at 4Rivers

Vehicles vie for spaces at barbecue hot spot.

Samantha Sherdel

Is it possible to lose one’s mind while trying to park at 4Rivers Smokehouse?

Let’s just say that Answer Man had never seen a 16-point turn until a recent weekday afternoon at the immensely popular barbecue restaurant on Fairbanks Avenue, east of I-4. That was just one of the remarkable sights as motorists, overtaken by unbridled lust for tender brisket, jockeyed for the eatery’s few parking spaces or improvised and squeezed their cars into tight spots not meant for vehicles. Answer Man watched in horror as the driver of an SUV that had been wedged between a wall and a telephone guy wire maneuvered desperately to flee the scene. She might still be there.

And then, there it was, a roadside sign that few apparently had bothered to read: “Parking available at Killarney Baptist Church.” Yes, my pulled-pork partisans, 4Rivers owner John Rivers has had a lease with the church across Fairbanks for quite a while to allow customers to park in its lot. And get this: The church even opens a room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays so that 4Rivers customers can congregate with their ’cue. “We want to be good neighbors,’’ says the Rev. Bruce Mayhew, pastor of Killarney Baptist.

Rivers, who opened his restaurant in a converted brake shop in late 2009, also has forged some “food for parking’’ deals with a couple of nearby stores to allow customers to use their spaces in the evening. (“They’re helping us out and we’re feeding them,’’ he says with a chuckle.)

“No Parking’’ signs line Formosa Avenue, the narrow side street next to 4Rivers, along with printed exhortations not to park on homeowners’ property. But, Rivers acknowledges, “some customers are going to do whatever they want, regardless of signs,’’ which is why he’s exploring even more parking options. But for now, the church lot remains a true blessing.


What is “bet-the-company” litigation?

While perusing the Best Lawyers list (included in this issue of Orlando magazine), Answer Man came across this category and thought that perhaps he had missed out on new variation of Texas hold ’em on his most recent sojourn to Las Vegas. However, there is a simpler explanation.

Best Lawyers of America, which compiles the list, defines the term as any litigation in which the survival of a company is on the line. That could mean a huge corporation threatened by a class-action suit or, as Orlando attorney John Fisher points out, a case in which a small, one-person business is at stake—for instance when someone sues a limited liability company over a trademark or patent. Both plaintiffs and defendants might hire bet-the-company lawyers in these cases.

Fisher, who is one of 22 Orlando area bet-the-company attorneys on our Best Lawyers list, says he and his legal colleagues don’t go around calling one another BTCs. Indeed, bet-the-company is a term thrown around mainly in the media and on lists, but nobody seems to know who coined the phrase.

Which is troubling. Does this mean that probate may one day become known as kick-the-bucket litigation? Answer Man hopes not.

Answer Man welcomes your questions about the Orlando area. Send queries to

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