Auburn’s Acre restaurant is carefully crafting Southern-inspired dishes with a fresh take and proving that great things can grow from passion and hard work. At Acre in Auburn, owner and executive chef David Bancroft and his team are working to create a place where customers feel like family, where locals and visitors all feel like regulars who gather time and again to relax with a good meal. “I want Acre to be a nice restaurant, but I really want people to have a comfortable experience,” he said, “and maintaining the level of service to do that is something we strive for every day.” But stellar service and an inviting atmosphere will only get you so far in the restaurant business. There’s also the food to consider. And Acre’s all about the food. David opened Acre in summer 2013, and its name is literal; it sits on just over one acre on the edge of Auburn University’s campus, and scattered between parking spaces and sidewalks is Acre’s own mini-farm. Peach trees line a median; an herb garden is right near the front door. Other veggies and fruits (plums, figs, blueberries, heirloom tomatoes, beans, carrots, zucchini) are growing in unexpected places, and they all find their way into David’s creations, food that he describes as “driven by the land and what it gives us.” Sides/starters like charred cauliflower risotto and garlic collard greens are two tasty examples. Follow him on social media, and you can sense an almost “proud papa” excitement jumping through the screen as he tends to and documents the progress of his plants. “I love walking around the acre to check out what’s popping up or budding out,” he said.
Salty, sweet, sour - There’s a whole lotta flavor on this butcher board. GARDENING HUNTING
CANNING & PRESERVING HOUSEMADE SAUCES HOT, HOT SAUCE
HEART TO TABLE A few passions Chef Bancroft brings to the plate.
A PUBLICATION OF THE JOY TO LIFE FOUNDATION
OU T OF T HE CHE F ’ S C O AT When Chef David isn’t at his restaurant, he’s with his family: his wife Christin and their young children, son Walker and daughter Kennedy. David sometimes calls Acre their “third baby” and is quick to credit his wife for her support. “It has been such a blessing,” he said. “We’ve done this together.” You can take David away from Acre, but you can’t keep him out of the kitchen, and he often cooks his family’s meals. His son, like lots of kids, is a picky eater and is usually not that interested in what his dad makes. But Kennedy is getting adventurous. “The other night, I made goat cheese gnocchi with roasted chicken and asparagus for dinner. Walker wouldn’t go for it, but my girl, she ate it up,” David said.
Fresh Summer Fun on Lake Martin, The Food Studio, Essential Oils, Acre in Auburn