4 Rivers owner launches The COOP

Restaurant hatches fresh take on comfort food

The COOP restaurant opens in Winter Park.
The COOP restaurant opens in Winter Park. (The COOP)

WINTER PARK, Fla. – The next big thing in fried chicken has taken roost in Winter Park.

The COOP restaurant, the brainchild of 4 Rivers Smokehouse owner John Rivers, is fast-casual take on southern comfort food and highlights, what else, but southern fried chicken.


Rivers, who has an affinity for Cajun cuisine, says that The COOP will exemplify southern hospitality with made-from-scratch comfort-food classics.

Located at 610 West Morse Boulevard, The COOP will mirror its sister restaurant by featuring a walk-up counter layout to allow guests to pick and choose from the freshly made cuisine. It will also feature vintage soda and craft beer.

"The introduction of The COOP is a reflection of our culinary growth from barbecue, which we love, to broader-reaching Southern-inspired cuisine," Rivers said in a release. "The COOP gives me the opportunity to share some of the favorite dishes I grew up eating and others that are most representative of great Southern flavors that range between Charleston to Louisiana and everywhere in between. What a great opportunity we've been given to serve the Central Florida community in yet another way. It truly is a blessing."

The menu begins with "Nibbles," with options including Chicken ‘N Biscuits topped with a Maple Bourbon Drizzle, Potlikker Soup, Pimento Cheese with Benton Bacon Bits, Creamy Deviled Eggs and Buttermilk Biscuits topped with a choice of proteins and spreads such as, Fried Chicken & Pepper Jelly, Maple Bourbon Glaze & Hickory Smoked Bacon or Homemade Preserves.

Nibbles are followed by "Mains," comprised of Southern Fried Chicken, Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Brisket Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie, Oxtail Beef Stew, Smothered Pork Chops, and made-to-order Fried Catfish and Grits, Chicken Fried Steak, and Shrimp, Oyster or Fried Green Tomato Po' Boy Sandwiches. Additionally, daily specials will showcase local ingredients from southeastern farmers.

Sides will include pimento cheese grits, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and creamed corn pudding.

Finally, "Sweetie Pies," an in-house bakery, rounds out the meal with an array of pies including Coconut and Banana Cream, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Brown Bag Apple, Peach, Blueberry, Classic Cherry, and Lemon Icebox.

The restaurant will be divvied into three sections: an indoor dining area, a screened-in porch and an outdoor area with picnic tables for a total of 116 dining seats.