Everything is a show — a Texas Honky Tonk with natural light — at David Bancroft's long-awaited Bow and Arrow.
He wanted to strip out the layers of service to leave a simple, family Sunday lunch at it's core. Those layers of service, the four-course meals and bottle service, are what he's been known for just down the road at Acre, Bancroft's thriving southern eatery.
"We were going for the exact opposite," Bancroft said. "Stripping out the pretenses and making everyone eat like they're family. You don't have to, but we encourage it."
Bancroft said he hopes Bow and Arrow, located just across from Church of the Highlands on East Samford Avenue, will become everyone's favorite lunch destination.
The limestone lining the building's exterior comes from a Texas quary, and the gardens out back are focused on margarita-making materials like blueberries and basil. Bancroft said he wanted to channel Texas roots through and through.
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Best described, Bancroft said, Bow and Arrow is a Texas smokehouse at a church potluck. He said Acre focused on harvesting the land of fresh ingredients. At Bow and Arrow, he questioned how he could once again utilize the land. This time, he though of hunting.
A hall of horns rounds the helm of the restaurant, each buck with a name in gold just below. A familiar name, President Steven Leath, rests below a white-tailed buck. Leath, in attendance for the soft opening, eyed his donated kill once more before sitting down to dinner.
The modern lighting and seating meshes with the rustic fascade to create an eye-catching, crisp design. Guests walked around, eyes peeled at the design, while taking in the smells from just beyond the hazy kitchen glass.
Antlers hang high and low around the pale pine interior that looks over picnic tables under string lights. The glass doors roll up on warmer evenings, Bancroft said on the cold and windy night of the soft opening.
The modern lighting and seating meshes with the rustic facade to create an eye-catching, crisp design. Guests walked around, eyes peeled at the design, while taking in the smells from just beyond the hazy kitchen glass.
A sign leads the hungry folk past the massive Kudu grill and homemade tortilla station to a meal worth the wait. Once in line, customers have a one-on-one chat with the butcher — something straight out of the "Brady Bunch," he said.
The decision between turkey, sausages, brisket and ribs doesn't slow the line though. The brisket is moist with the perfect balance of smokey heat and buttery silk. Pints of southern greens, butter beans and potato salad follow. Desserts of pecan pie and brownies are just behind.
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Bancroft made a deal for the kids, free Blue Bell with the tiny wooden spoon. And for the adults, a selection of margaritas and craft beers fill the towering cooler.
Bancroft worked to showcase the best moments of childhood and family time.
The family-style dining experience spawned from memories of dinner with his grandmother. He recalled her serving out of Country Crock butter tubs to a table of 14.
"We had a small group of family last night. Everybody just pushed tables together," Bancroft said and grinned. "People were reaching on to other people's tables and grabbing stuff. It was how we intended it to be. It was what we had hoped, and we had never seen that."
Bow and Arrow opens for business on Wednesday.
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