“You’re just not coming in and having a meal,” says Stephen Pierce, general manager, about Acre in Auburn, Ala. "You're having an experience.”
The moment you pull into the parking lot, you realize this isn’t a typical restaurant.
This realization intensifies further as you
walk toward the entrance passing by various fruit and vegetable plants. It’s becoming apparent that you are about to enjoy a memorable meal in many ways.
Inside the house-like structure, you discover a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. Details throughout the restaurant have their own significant stories like the fish basket-turned-chandelier in the dining room, and the wood located above the bar reclaimed from a 100-year-old general store. It’s things like these
that make it feels as if you are dining in someone’s home, and that’s exactly the way Acre wants it.
Opened in August 2013, chef and owner David Bancroft says Acre was built so that he and his family “would have a platform to share our thoughts about clean food.”
“We purchased one full acre in downtown Auburn so that we would have enough space to execute as many practices of sustainability in our business as possible. We built our own parking lot void of city parking meters, planted two working vegetable gardens onsite, and wrapped the entire acre in edible landscape. We've also built an area to collect recyclables that we drive to the recycling facility each week.”
While building a “community restaurant,” it was vital to Bancroft and his family that they plan to work and exist responsibly.
“Our goal is to provide knowledge about the food that is being consumed in our fast-food driven societies, and provide a responsible and clean alternative.”
They accomplish this by growing many fruits and vegetables (what can’t be grown is purchased at the Farmers Market or from local/regional farmers), butchering and curing meats sourced from farmers, filleting whole fresh fish and more. They even make their own pickles and preserves.
“We make everything in-house but Duke’s mayonnaise and Heinz ketchup,” says Bancroft. “Many of those techniques of food preservation were considered a ‘lost art’ until these past few years in which farm-to-table restaurants have exploded across the country.”
features such items as homemade peanut brittle, fried green tomatoes, homemade sausage and more. These concepts extend to their original cocktail list
Even though all these techniques are the norm for Acre, Bancroft doesn't
immediately refer to the restaurant as “farm-to-table." At least not in the mainstream sense.
“If farm-to-table means ‘responsible food that supports your local economy while providing a healthier alternative for dinner,' then yes, I guess we fit under the mainstream label ‘farm-to-table.’
More than labels, we enjoy opening our doors to the community, being a part of their family and they a part of ours. We encourage our friends and family to till up a spot of lawn grass and plant a few vegetables. Nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato.”
Acre is open daily for lunch 11 a.m. -3 p.m, and for dinner Monday-Thursday 5 - 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 5-10 p.m. They are closed Sunday evening.
Bancroft says his favorite dish is the "Butcher's Board" featuring four to five meat selections, fresh pickles, preserves, mustards and breads. His second favorite is the "Country Ham and Cheddar Biscuits with Blackstrap Molasses Butter," in which he says is their cured 12-month old prosciutto, shaved razor thin, piled on fresh griddles biscuits and then drizzled with warm molasses butter.
photos from personal collection