Sustainability. Eco-friendly. Local. Organic. For those of us concerned with being kind to our planet, our community, and our health, these are the labels that grab our attention in the grocery aisle. For Auburn alumni David Bancroft, these concepts are central to his vision for his new Auburn restaurant, Acre.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Bancroft followed his two older brothers and family tradition and enrolled at Auburn University. As a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, he was voted the kitchen steward. His first restaurant position was at the Auburn favorite, Amsterdam Cafe.
“I was offered the Executive Chef position shortly after my first year at the restaurant. During my tenure at the cafe, we adjusted the menu concept to focus on fresh local foods instead of pre-fabricated frozen products,” Bancroft says.
After six years of cooking in Auburn, Bancroft is breaking new ground (literally) with his highly anticipated new restaurant on East Glenn Avenue.
“We purchased an acre of land in which I will have a vegetable garden, edible landscape, and my own parking accommodations separate from parking meters. My goal is to be as sustainable as possible on my acre!”
Bancroft says his concept for Acre emerged from what is happening right now in our economy. His vision is to reverse the effects that mass production and globalization have had on American farming while reducing his own carbon footprint as much as possible.
“The globalization and mass production society that we have created has decimated our farming population causing Americans to source produce from other countries. After WWII we tried to make farming as easy as possible and removed all the hard work. We focused on fertilizers, hormones, and mass production.”
Bancroft hopes to give back to the community he and his family now call home by supporting the local farming families.
“Randle Farms, Oakview Farms, Ledbetter Acres, Harman Farms, Bulger Creek Farms, Belle Chevre, Snow's Bend, Petals from the Past, Wright Dairy, and Hampstead Institute are the backbone of what our restaurant will practice and believe. These families are living true lifestyles that inspire me everyday to work harder in the kitchen!”
Bancroft admits that most of Auburn’s entertainment is focused toward college and gameday traffic, but he hopes Acre will be more than that.
“During the summer and winter months when the University slows down, I've learned to focus on what is consistent, serving the locals. My focus is to entertain a younger genre that is into restoring our economy and providing an energetic atmosphere as well as provide creative, fresh, southern fare that highlights the best ingredients that the 'blackbelt region' has to offer!”
Like any gardener knows, you have to patiently await the harvest. Bancroft is hesitant to give an exact date for the opening of Acre, but hopes it will be before early summer. Just in time for those fresh summer vegetables.