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“Very disappointing dinner for one, great for another.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ojai Deer Lodge

Ojai Deer Lodge
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Ranked #36 of 95 Restaurants in Ojai
Price range: $15 - $35
Cuisines: American, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Bar scene, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: The historic Deer Lodge serves the authentic Ojai experience in a warm, rustic environment that has been in continuous operation since 1932. We offer farm-to-table dining with fresh product sourced locally from local farms. Enjoy quality meat, fresh local seafood, gourmet burgers and classic comfort food selections including Mac 'n Cheese, organic (and famous) Fried chicken and our weekend BBQ. We offer a selection of 20 craft brews and a wine list comprised of the best of the Ojai Valley. Evening transitions to a lively music scene featuring the best of Ojai talent an national talent.
Lompoc, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Very disappointing dinner for one, great for another.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2013

On a recent getaway to Ojai, our Living Social deal at the Hummingbird Inn included a $15 off coupon to the Deer Lodge Restaurant. Wish we had gone somewhere else with NO coupon.
The strange thing is, my husband's pork chop served with grilled veggies was delicious. Tender, huge and juicy. Since I'm not a beef/pork eater (which is most of the menu), and the waitress could'nt describe the venison short ribs leaving me leery to order them, I settled for southern fried chicken. The breading was OK, not too thick, but the chicken was still pink to red at the bone. The mashed potatoes were good, but lukewarm, and the corn bread was terrible. Dry and tasteless. So dry that when I tried to butter and honey a piece it fell apart on my plate. No veggies, except for a mess of dry baby spinach that had no flavor at all. Forget eating the dinner rolls, looked like something you'd find a the corner diner. Very little choice of interesting entrees except for steaks and salmon. I NEVER would order salmon in a restaurant like this. The atmosphere is kitchy and log cabinish, but they could have done without the so-called entertainment who was a female singer with a pretty good voice, (but way too loud) and her choice of music was really strange. Sounded like American Indian rain dance music.
All in all, I will go back to Ojai but not to the Deer Lodge. Service is very slow, which I wouldn't mind if the food was worth waiting for!

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JoycesChoices
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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146 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    35
    38
    35
    20
    18
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
35 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Deer Lodge”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2013

One of my best friends lives in Ojai and I frequently stay at his home when I am traveling. The Deer Lodge has been around for decades and has always had a reputation for bad service. But we heard that there was new ownership and a new chef so I said, "let's go check it out." Bad decision but it was my call.
They have spiffed it up and the food is seriously good now. However the service was awful and I blame that not on the servers but on the general manager. Tables seemed to be assigned to servers at random and it's a fairly big place. There are two inside rooms and outside tables all around the perimenter. Our server as well as others were covering the whole place willy nilly going outside and back inside. They were passing each other in the middle. A serious restaurant would assign tables where the server can look after his/her customers. "Do you need anything? Another glass of wine? Are you interested in dessert?" Our server would disappear (almost) for 20 to 30 minutes because she was handling tables all over the damn store. We could see her on the other side of the house and then ducking outside handling other tables and sending tickets back to the kitchen. The host station was empty most of the evening. Incredibly unprofessional.
Not only do you have to wait 30 minutes for your check but on weekends they torture you with really bad Ojai hippie music while you are waiting.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank pasquino b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Pleasant outdoor dining with very friendly waitresses~”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2013

We've been here twice and both times we waited too long, in my opinion, to be seated. The young hosts, seem to be too deep in conversation amongst themselves. Once seated however, both waitresses were very nice! The beer selection is fun, I like trying different craft beer. The food was also tasty & had a touch of gourmet! The outdoor seating during a sunset & dusk is beautiful. Overall, it was a good experience.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Pultega4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
45 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“So Much Potential!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2013

The location is rural and charming, patio is nice. Because we wanted a heat lamp, we were seated at the rear of the patio next to a wall listening to the kitchen fan. No big deal, we were looking forward to the food we'd heard about from our hotel desk, she'd given us a coupon for two (small) glasses of wine and told us it's the best food in town. When the bread arrived, my friend stated, "you can always tell how good a restaurant's going to be by the bread." Oh...boy. With the buzz about quality local and organic ingredients, we expected maybe artisan, or at least whole grain rolls. They were nasty. The puffy white rolls your grandma eats with margarine at the coffee shop Early Bird Special. The server said she'd gotten bread complaints from other customers. Why not order from the amazing Knead Bakery down in Ojai? I'd come here just for that bread!
My salmon was really good, really tender and delicious, a big portion with brown rice and vegetables. I had leftovers and scarfed them down for lunch the next day. My friend's pork chop was just "okay," huge, but she didn't take her leftovers. Ingredients were quality, nice and fresh, especially the vegetables. As for the place itself, it feels like there's an identity crisis going on. It's a tavern inside, but they offer pricey entrees too, perhaps they need to specialize in burgers and sandwiches, and maybe just offer the entrees as limited specials with whatever is really fresh that day.
They have music, and I bet it's great on certain nights. We discovered that Thursday is open mic night. Oy. If you're on the patio, for the love of all things holy, don't sit by the door near the stage! One guy was okay, one girl great, next guy un-bear-a-ble. Ever seen those bad American Idol auditions? Thank God we got the check before the blood started spurting from our ears.
Open mic, hit and miss, that's just how it goes. But the food, well, that should be hit every night. All things considered, I might give this place another shot next time I'm in Ojai. But not on a Thursday, that's for sure.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank flymonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
L.A.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“POOR Service”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

We like to come to Ojai and have been to Deer Lodge before. Apparently these are new owners and they sure have not got it together. There were 11 service personnel in the restaurant when we were there. We ordered a drink and were told that they did not have those mixings at the bar (Gray Hound).
We ordered two sandwiches and 45 min. later they arrived from a different food server. The bread was falling apart on my sandwich. The sandwiches were good but fell apart and were messy.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Gunther1945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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