Located in the heart of the southeast, Auburn-Opelika has become a melting pot of culinary accomplishments. There have been many individuals over the years who have contributed to the evolution of the culinary scene here in Auburn-Opelika, but it’s hard to tell this story without starting with David Bancroft.

An Alabama native, Bancroft has established himself as a successful, well-accomplished chef. Despite not spending a day in culinary school, Bancroft gained tremendous experience serving as the kitchen steward of his fraternity at Auburn University in addition to serving as the head chef at Amsterdam Café during his early career. Right off the bat, Bancroft was named a four-time semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the South in addition to winning Food Network’s “Iron Chef Showdown” in 2017.  

Born in Alabama but raised in Texas, Bancroft has always had strong ties to the South and was immersed in the world of farming as a child as his grandparents owned a farm in Hartford, Alabama. 

“It was very inspiring to me to watch Grandpa Kennedy use up every piece of land he had to try to make it better, to try to grow something, to try to produce something,” Bancroft said. “That was my inspiration growing up.”

Through this inspiration came his first restaurant, Acre, a chic, rustic favorite that embraces the concept of farm-to-table. Bancroft shared that it was his mission to source their ingredients locally. 

“There’s lots of local growing, gardening, and farming… The whole acre is planted in fruit trees and vegetable gardens… every inch of it, all around, everywhere you go, there’s food,” said Bancroft.

In the development of Acre, Bancroft was intentional in celebrating Southern culture in his restaurant. From the fresh harvest grown in the local community to the locally farm-raised meat, Acre is a direct nod to Bancroft’s family and his upbringing.

“Acre has 100 percent paid homage to my grandparents… and the family farm in Alabama,” said Bancroft. “It is paying homage to all things Southern, all things Alabama grown.”  

Acre is a staple in the Auburn culinary scene. Bancroft and his team strive to bring Southern hospitality to each and every individual they serve. From long-time locals, to college students, to visitors and tourists from across the nation, the restaurant is dedicated to bringing a taste of the South to every customer they serve.

Bow & Arrow, Bancroft’s second restaurant in Auburn, has a similar mission. While Acre embraces Alabama cuisine, this casual restaurant features authentic South Texas smokehouse barbecue, honoring the other side of Bancroft’s roots, carefully blending it with Mexican cuisine.  

“Bow & Arrow has all the Texas barbecue with Mexican influence creating that ‘Tex-Mex’ cowboy culture,” said Bancroft. “It’s where cowboys meet ‘vaqueros’ at the same fire – that’s Bow & Arrow.”

This crowd favorite is known for its slow-smoked meats like brisket, pork, and turkey, Mexican favorites including fajitas and enchiladas, and hearty Southern entrees featuring crispy fried chicken and catfish. 

Each restaurant boasts to provide top-tier Southern hospitality while showcasing Bancroft’s family values and Texas-Bama roots. 

“Texas gave me fire and taught me how to smoke a brisket with as humble a beginning as you could imagine – on a back porch with my baseball buddies and bag of charcoal,” Bancroft said. “Alabama brought me back to my roots, and taught me how to serve with a gracious heart.”

In an area that is very family-oriented and places heavy emphasis on the personal stories of the community, Bancroft has built up two very special restaurants that tie those two aspects together. These restaurants collectively tell the two sides of Bancroft’s story and highlight the two cultural passions that have influenced his cuisine. Discover the intersection of tradition and creativity in every bite at Acre and Bow & Arrow as Bancroft's culinary expertise continues to redefine the dining landscape of Auburn-Opelika.  

 

Bancroft's Establishments

Acre

  • 210 E. Glenn Avenue

Acre celebrates Southern hospitality and the fresh harvest provided by the local community. With sophisticated charm, repurposed architectural details, and a menu of stylishly modern food with roots deep in Southern soil, it's a delightful anachronism. Good traditions for good people, a neighborhood place perfect for conducting business, relaxing with friends, or making memories with family. Acre is located in the historic downtown district of Auburn just three blocks from Toomer’s Corner, the heart of the Auburn community. Chef David Bancroft and his team bring classic favorites to the table with fresh, innovative flavors…

Bow and Arrow

  • 1977 E. Samford Ave.

From the talented chef-owner who brought us Acre, Bow & Arrow is where South Texas barbecue meets Alabama potluck. Casual and authentic, Bow & Arrow serves up an assortment of smoked meats cooked over a live-fire Kudu grill, a selection of Southern sides, including hashbrown casserole, collard greens, and brisket beans; and an extensive selection of real Tex-Mex cuisine. They encourage family-style ordering and passing food at the table. Texas-style meats are cut by hand from the pit, weighed on scales, and served with fresh-made flour tortillas or white bread. The meats are piled onto butcher paper-lined trays as you make…