***UPDATE: NanaSteak opened Thursday, February 18, 2016! Reservations can be made via OpenTable.***
Husband and wife, Scott Howell and Aubrey Zinaich Howell own the popular upscale Durham restaurant Nana’s on University Ave. as well as the neighboring Mexican joint NanaTaco and the French-inspired downtown Bar Virgile. This culinary power couple is about to embark on yet another style of food in the Bull City–the first of its kind in the area–a steakhouse, appropriately named NanaSteak, adjacent to The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
The whole concept came about when Scott and Aubrey were at a DPAC show a few years ago and ran into someone who works at American Tobacco where DPAC is located. This friend put the bug in Scott’s ear that there was going to be a prime space available for a restaurant near DPAC and a burning desire was lit in Scott.
Graham and Brad Weddington, longtime bartenders at Nana’s, had been talking to Scott for a while about doing a restaurant together, and opening NanaSteak seemed like the perfect opportunity. Tyler Vanderzee, the sous-chef at Nana’s, expressed interested in participating and it felt right to have him join the couple as a partner at NanaSteak as well. As for Aubrey’s role, well, they’re a package deal: “He’s the brain’s, and I’m the brawn,” shares Aubrey. “He’s the creative, and I execute.”
NanaSteak will be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Monday, and will be open later for the post DPAC crowd to grab a bite after shows.
Some specials you can expect from the kitchen include a “Handle Steak” which will be a bone-in rib eye steak for two, “Five-Onion Soup,” and Scott’s “Big Bowl of Mussels.” Brad and Graham will be offering a “Dirty-Durham Martini,” which will involve bacon & blue cheese stuffed olives in a dirty martini.
Fingers crossed NanaSteak will open next week and downtown Durham will welcome the first steakhouse in town that also has the only charcoal-burning Montague Grill in town!
The exterior sign was just put up and the interior looks like it’s ready to come alive the way Aubrey and Scott envision it, as a lively, warm, welcoming and energetic atmosphere. If you have been to their other restaurants in town, it’s easy to imagine Nanasteak will be the same way.
Photos courtesy of Aubrey Zinaich Howell.