Otters on the River has undergone a number or name changes over the past few years, I cannot remember them all, but that tells you something. However, with the latest name change came a remodel and I must say, it looks pretty nice inside, they've done a good job. I'm not quite sure if they're finished, there was a stage-like area where they were still doing something, there was someone doing some sort of repair outside when we were there, and, oddly enough, there was a tall ladder in the middle of the dining room, just sitting there, when we visited.
We went on a Friday evening about 5, hoping to avoid any dinner rush. We didn't need to worry, there were not many people there, but more arrived later.
Otter's on the River is located in a marina on the St. John's River, at the west end of Lake Monroe. It's a nice location and has a lot going for it. It's a restaurant/bar in a marina, and they have a large patio and pool area, i can imagine this being very popular on a weekend with boaters and families. It looks like a fun place, definitely. The recent remodel brought the dining area up a few notches and it looks much better and more modern than in the past. It's a pleasing space inside. Outside is pretty typical for what you'd expect at a marina, though probably a fun place when the sun is low.
Our service was pretty good and our dinner was pretty good. The waiter was new but did go to find the answer when asked a question about the menu. Tommy had the Chicken Salad and it was indeed delicious, with lettuce and tomato on toast. He really loved the fries, and I have to agree, they were very good, nice and crisp and well seasoned. All the food was fresh and flavorful. This was a hit as far as Tommy was concerned.
For my dinner, I had the "Ice Age Melt," basically your typical patty melt, one of my favorite sandwiches, and also had fries. The sandwich itself was pretty good, though a bit dry. When i ordered, i specified medium-rare, but what i got was really well done. With a bit of imagination, maybe medium-well, but it was, IMHO, just overcooked a bit. The onions and cheese were good, but again, the meat itself was just a bit dry. The fires were likewise good.
Overall, we had an OK experience. I guess I was a bit put off by the empty ladder in the middle of the dining room, and the activity on the stage, moving a piano I guess, and the repairman outside. I can understand those activities need to happen, and maybe they were happening because it was slow, but it was just a bit odd. I am torn on giving this place a 3 or a 4 out of 5. It's really a 3.5 in my book. For me, it was good, but not much more than average. Still, i hope you give them a try and let me know what you think!