When David Bancroft cooks, people make a fuss.
Bancroft quickly gained regional and national acclaim after he and his wife Christin opened Acre in 2013, their haute yet approachable farm-to-table restaurant in Auburn. Money Magazine later cited its “incredible food” when it named The Loveliest Village on the Plains as the best city in Alabama.
Southern Living magazine named Acre as one of the 10 best restaurants in the South in 2018. Later that year when the Bancrofts opened their second restaurant, Bow & Arrow, the online food publication Eater lauded it as one of the year’s “19 Most-Anticipated Restaurants.”
The prestigious James Beard Foundation named the self-trained cook a semi-finalist for its Best Chef South award from 2016–2019. He’s even channeled his inner kitchen ninja, building a team that won back-to-back cooking competitions on the Food Network’s program, “Iron Chef Showdown.”
Why Auburn? Bancroft has strong ties to both the city and university. His parents, Steve and Laura Bancroft, met there in 1972 while joining fellow students rolling Toomer’s Corner for the first time. His brothers, Bill and Ben, also are AU graduates. While attending Auburn himself, David Bancroft was kitchen steward for his fraternity, planning and budgeting house meals while also cooking for large gatherings. The experience helped inspire his desire to cook professionally.
Born in Mobile and raised in a suburb of San Antonio, Texas, Bancroft melds the two regions’ cuisines at Bow & Arrow. Meats are smoked and cooked over fire on a funky multi-level Kudu grill. The side dishes recall vegetables that his maternal grandmother, Jean Kennedy, served at the Geneva County farm where his grandfather, Paul Kennedy, raised beef, catfish, chickens, peanuts, pine trees, and more.
For folks accustomed to ’Bama barbecue shacks with a sign out front depicting a happy hog, Bow & Arrow shoots diners in a new direction. Here are 8 ways Bow & Arrow consistently hits the target.