The South's Best Restaurant in Alabama: Acre
Chef David Bancroft's restaurant owes much more than its name to the acre of land it sits on in downtown Auburn.
The restaurant is wrapped with an edible landscape, where Bancroft and his team tend crops that thrive in the Deep South climate—fruit trees guard the entrance, while a patch of collard greens, rows of herbs, and a plot of flowers fill the gaps in between. There are heirloom radishes and beets, lettuces, corn, and carrots growing in a 75-foot raised bed; a section of watermelons rounds out the far end of the garden.
It's the bounty that determines Acre's everchanging daily menu featuring dishes like roasted Gulf snapper served with creamed popped corn, collard green spaetzle, barbecue peanuts, and Brussels sprout slaw. Swing by on the right night, and you might find an Acre specialty, the Alabama Tamales: deer chorizo and sweet potato masa wrapped in a collard leaf and drizzled with white barbecue sauce and the restaurant's homemade hot sauce.
Bancroft's attention to detail—and history—goes beyond the menu. The interior is designed with black walnut floors and walls wrapped in solid oak, salvaged from his grandfather's farm, and lined with old family photographs.
"The restaurant is fairly new—we just built it four years ago," he says. "But we put our stories and ancestry and history into it, and that gives it a heartbeat."