As I continue doing research for my upcoming book, "100 Things To Do In Auburn, Alabama Before You Die," I am thoroughly enjoying finding places to recommend here on my blog.
This week I can gladly suggest a casual eatery for lunch and dinner, a small, upscale restaurant for dinner in Opelika, and a special bakery also in Opelika.
BOW & ARROW
Chef/Owner David Bancroft has already established a loyal following at Acre, his wildly popular restaurant about two blocks from Toomer's Corner. Bow and Arrow, Bancroft's latest venture, is on E. Samford Avenue across from The Church of the Highlands. The name is derived from one of Bancroft's favorite hobbies, and the taste is compliments of the years he spent in Texas as a boy learning the wonders of open-fire cooking.
The smells emanating from the kitchen at Bow & Arrow are indeed tantalizing, and the sides offered with the meats are straight off a covered dish supper table. Think hashbrown casserole, collard greens, mac and cheese, green beans, sweet corn rice, and more. There's also a large representation of Tex-Mex dishes on the menu.
This is a show-up-and-get-your-name-on-the-seating-list kind of place, so don't be surprised if you have a wait time. My advice -- get there when it opens for lunch or earlier than normal for dinner. It's casual but certainly a cut above your average barbecue joint.
There's no big mystery to Cafe 123's name. It's located at 123 S. 8th St. in Opelika, just a short walk from Railroad Avenue which is where many local events take place. This is a fine dining restaurant, complete with white tablecloths, candles, and stemmed glassware, but it is not stuffy or formal. The seating capacity is small, and so is the menu.
Cafe 123 is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and for brunch Friday through Sunday. Reservations are highly recommended, and they are taken by phone.
I'm sure everything is delicious, but I can personally vouch for the Shrimp and Grits and the Blackened Redfish. Both are beautifully presented and very good.
Cakeitecture is the bakery with the interesting name directly across the street from Cafe 123. Owner Carie Tindill graduated from Auburn with a degree in architecture. After working in that field for a number of years, she decided to pursue something that was more fun. If you buy an Aubie cookie at Toomer's Corner -- the ones infused with Toomer's Lemonade -- you will be enjoying one of her creations. She's in high demand for decorated cakes, and the bakery case is filled with macarons, cake pops, decorated cookies, cupcakes, and much more. The photo gallery on the website will amaze you. Cakeitecture is a fun place. Be sure to check it out when you're in Opelika. Oh, and I'm confident that Carie's stacked cakes have structural integrity. :)