Cedar River Seafood opened its new location several months ago in the Hunter's Walk shopping center in the old Woody's BBQ location. I had eaten at Cedar River years ago when it was located just down the street in the old Pizza Hut location next to the Garden Gate Nursery. I had thought the food at that location to be decent, but not my favorite. I don't often eat fried foods so Cedar River was not a place I usually had on my radar. Now, since I live on Millhopper Road which severely lacks in the restaurant department, I figured it was time to give Cedar River another shot. Its new location is not only more convenient for me, but far more accessible. Navigating across 43rd to access the old location was cumbersome and irritating. Hunter's Walk, on the other hand, has its own traffic light for easy and safe access to the new location.
I have now picked up dinner to-go from Cedar River's new location several times. Their old menu had the Seafarer's Treasure which featured any combination of the following two items: fish, shrimp, oysters, deviled crab, scallops or clam strips along with a choice of two sides. The same entree is still offered on the new menu but it has been renamed the Dockside Double. A copy of their old menu may be found here: http://www.allmenus.com/fl/gainesville/248360-cedar-river-seafood/menu/ They have not yet scanned in their new menu featuring most of the same dishes, some renamed. The prices are not accurate on that menu either. When I called in my order the first time, the total was significantly higher than I had estimated (I was ordering two Dockside Doubles). That meal is now priced at $14.99. A new paper menu copy is available at the cashier's counter so make sure to pick one up if you're interested in ordering food to go.
Despite the price discrepancy, the experience here was a good one and has kept me coming back. I have had my order taken via phone by several different employees, all very helpful and friendly. The first time I ordered, it was their first night open. I was put on hold a few times, which was totally undersandable since they would be perceivably slammed on their opening night. Aside from that, the staff was friendly and my order was accurate with no mistakes. Checkout was smooth despite a full house and our fish was hot, perfectly cooked and not at all greasy.
The sides consist of a variety of vegetables, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, fried okra and more. The mac and cheese is almost too cheesy. It is very rich and has the classic cafeteria style. It's not bad. I usually get that and the baked potato. The fried okra is pretty good as well. It is not greasy and the okra is cooked well. I didn't care for the baby Limas but that may be because I apparently have never had a Lima bean and it just isn't something I like! I've had a few of the other sides and they are just okay. However, the fish is extremely good, in my opinion, and certainly the reason that you're going to a seafood restaurant in the first place. The seafood certainly makes up for where the sides fall short. I have tried the fried clams, cod, oysters and pollack. The cod and pollack are my favorites. Each time I've ordered, I have only experienced fresh and perfectly cooked fish with just the right amount of breading and moisture and most importantly: no grease! The fried clam strips were pretty good too. They were cooked tender and the portions in all the meals I've ordered are very decent and filling. I have a big appetite and I'm always full when I order from Cedar River. I have a major affinity for oysters and the ones from Cedar River were simply okay. I wouldn't likely order them again. They are small and have a mild flavor. I felt the breading ratio was a little high for these tiny treasures. I have had oysters in Savannah, Charleston (my favorite) and in other areas of Florida so I am very picky about those.
All in all, I think if it's good fried fish you're craving, Cedar River is a decent option. I've been really really unhappy with another nearby seafood restaurant the past few times I've been there and Cedar River has been pretty consistent, though their menu isn't as "high end" or expansive as the other restuarant. The staff is extrememly friendly and the experience is always a pleasant one at Cedar River. The restaurant itself is very clean and I look forward to dining in one day.