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Smoking hot news: 4 Rivers Smokehouse headed to Carrollwood

A hot new barbecue concept is headed to Carrollwood.

Orlando-based 4 Rivers Smokehouse is opening at the Shoppes of Carrollwood, along N Dale Mabry Highway just south of Ehrlich Road.

The Texas-style smokehouse has a hearty following, especially among brisket lovers. It has four locations in the Orlando area and one each in Jacksonville and Gainesville.

The restaurant was founded by John Rivers, a pharmaceutical executive who started a barbecue ministry in 2004 to help a family whose daughter had cancer pay for medical bills. Five years later, he opened the first 4 Rivers Smokehouse, a faith-based company that donates to local schools and charities.

The Tampa restaurant is expected to open early next year.

Also on Dale Mabry, but miles to the south, a drab commercial site is getting a fresh look. Paradise Ventures of Safety Harbor has acquired the former Estela's Mexican Restaurant and a small strip center across from Britton Plaza.

Called the Shoppes at South Dale, the commercial center is one of the larger recent redevelopment projects along the S Dale Mabry corridor and coincides with another project under construction to the south at the corner of Gandy Boulevard. That center, Encore Commons, will include Chick-fil-A, Chipotle Mexican Grill and a Verizon store.

The 4.92-acre Shoppes at South Dale will include a standalone Crunch Fitness gym by Vince Julien, owner of the Shapes Fitness for Women at Dale Mabry and Swann Avenue that closed amid controversy to make way for the area's first Trader Joe's.

The existing South Dale strip center will be renovated and leased to new tenants. The Pizza Hut will move into a smaller space away from the end cap.

The Estela's building was demolished a few weeks ago and construction of the new project is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of the year, said Chris Zimmerman of Paradise Ventures.

Pier 1 Imports has opened a new concept store in New Tampa, the sixth in the Florida and second in the Tampa Bay area. The other one is in Spring Hill.

The newly designed store, at 18047 Highwoods Preserve Parkway in the Walk at Highwoods Preserve shopping center, allows for easier navigation while it maintains the treasure hunt feel the home goods retailer is known for.

The 7,000-square-foot store replaces a Pier 1 that closed nearby along Dona Michelle Drive. To celebrate the grand opening, shoppers will receive a free reusable bag and a Pier 1 Imports backscratcher through Wednesday.

Less than a month into hurricane season, a new survey by Staples found that only one in four small business employees thinks its employers are prepared for a severe emergency. The third annual safety survey also cited figures that an estimated 25 percent of businesses don't reopen after a major disaster.

Those are scary statistics for an area that hasn't had a direct hurricane hit in nearly 100 years.

WestShore Plaza is sending thanks to deployed military from MacDill Air Force Base. Today, family and friends will go on a scavenger hunt through the mall for goodies to put in care packages for their loved ones. The mall is providing the items and postage. For anyone who has mailed a box lately, that's a nice treat.

Sports bars aren't the ones going wild over the World Cup. Winn-Dixie is hosting "World Food Cup'' parties with inflatable soccer goals, giveaways and food samplings at these Tampa stores: 4056 N Armenia Ave. on June 25; 2770 E Fowler Ave. on June 26; and 7851 Palm River Road on June 27. The events are from 3 to 7 p.m.

Now through June 24, shoppers can enter for a chance to win a Home Viewing Party for the final match with prizes including a big-screen TV, food and gift cards. To be eligible, customers must spend $35 and buy three products from Coca-Cola, Kraft or Winn-Dixie Family Favorites using their Reward Card.

Susan Thurston can be reached at or (813) 225-3110.

Smoking hot news: 4 Rivers Smokehouse headed to Carrollwood 06/17/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 6:22pm]
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