NanaSteak preps for Durham opening

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). 

NanaSteak Durham

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.

Dining near DPAC

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.”

Check out Durham food blog Bites of Bull City, where you can view some cool interior photos and read more about the opening.


Become the Ultimate Durhamite With This Impressive Checklist

Walk or bike the American Tobacco Trail.

Have breakfast at Elmo’s Diner and/or Rick’s Diner.

Buy a bottle of wine from Wine AuthoritiesHope Valley Bottle ShopTotal Wineand/or Cave Taureau.

Go to a Broadway show at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

See a concert, stand-up comedy or even just a movie at The Carolina Theatre.

Meet local artisans and find beautifully crafted pottery, jewelry, illustrations, woodwork and more at the weekly Durham Craft Market and monthly Durham Patchwork Market.

Take your rambunctious youngsters to Durham’s most central playground: Mount Merrill.


Photo by Emily Toth.

Spend a morning volunteering with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Have lunch and a pastry at Mad Hatter’s Cafe and Bakeshop.

10 Go on a shopping spree to Fifi’sMagpieJo’s BoutiqueExotiqueJackSmitten,BanoIndioCotton Creek and Vert & Vogue.

11 See a play at Manbites Dog Theater.

12 Purchase fine art and crafts during one of the two Durham Art Walks held each year.

13 Tour the early home, factories and farm where Washington Duke first grew and processed tobacco at Duke Homestead.

14 Go on a gourmet culinary tour led by Taste Carolina.

15 Rock out at The Pinhook and/or Motorco Music Hall.

16 Visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

17 Head to one of two Durham Farmers’ Markets on a Saturday morning.

18 Sample more than 250 beers from closte to 100 different breweries at the World Beer Festival.

19 Meet a favorite author at The Regulator Bookshop.

20 Check out the art museum at N.C. Central University.

CLICK HERE to see the remaining list.


10 Facts You Never Knew About Durham

1. In 2014, more than 9.5 million passengers traveled through Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

2. Research Triangle Park is the largest research park in the country, home to more than 200companies and 50,000+ employees.

3. The Carolina Theatre will observe its 90th anniversary in 2016 with a yearlong celebration.

4. The historic home of Bennett Place became the site of the largest troop surrender of the Civil War.

5. 112 performances sold out at the Durham Performing Arts Center this past year.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the list.


17 Signs You’re From Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina is unlike any other southern small town. A town of over 200,000 thousand somehow has a small town feel. From its little, crunchy downtown area full of independently owned restaurants and shops to its vast beautiful woodlands and fields, Durham, North Carolina is the place to live. Here are some signs that you’re from the Durham a.k.a the Bull City. 

1. You only wear one shade of blue; “Duke” blue or “UNC” blue.

2. You know all about the legendary Cameron Indoor Stadium and Cameron Crazies.

There are no “nose bleed” seats in Cameron and every seat is a great seat. And, you can always count on the Cameron Crazies, who are seated right up against the court, to keep the stadium very rowdy. 

CLICK HERE to see the remaining signs…


The best weekend getaways for Valentine’s Day romance, or family time

Next weekend packs a punch with two holidays in one – Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. To help you make the most of your three days off, Jacqui Gifford from Travel and Leisure magazine shares some of the best destinations, from a chic hotel in Durham, North Carolina, to a family-friendly resort in the Wisconsin Dells.

Watch the entire VIDEO SEGMENT from the TODAY show.


2016 ACC Baseball Championship Ticket Packages on Sale

Full tournament passes and weekend packages for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship, scheduled for May 24-29 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, are now on sale.

Full tournament passes are available for $150. The pass includes tickets to all 15 tournament games, including the championship on Sunday. Group and corporate tickets are also available. A weekend package, which includes Friday night’s game, all three games on Saturday, and Sunday’s championship, is available for $50.

Call 919-956-BULL, click HERE or visit the DBAP’s Frontier Communications Ticket Office to secure your seats today.

Read more about the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship


5 Under-the-Radar Vacation Alternatives to Tourist Favorites

If you’re looking for Southern charm, forget Charleston; try Durham instead.

That’s the message of Chicago lifestyle website Make It Better in its feature, “5 Under-the-Radar Vacation Alternatives to Tourist Favorites.”

These alternatives to tourist favorites offer experiences that are more affordable, less crowded, more intimate or less stressful,” writes the blog.

Durham’s food scene is particularly highlighted. Hotels and restaurants mentioned include the 21c Museum Hotel and its Counting House restaurant, The Durham hotel’s rooftop bar, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Piedmont, Pizzeria Toro, Pompieri Pizza, The Parlour, Durham Distillery and Alley Twenty Six.

“This rapidly growing city seems to be in a perpetual state of construction but now is the time to visit for a taste of small town charm before it gets any bigger,” says the blog about Durham.

Read the full article here.


Valentine’s Day – The Durham Way

Show yourself (or your special someone) a little love this Valentine’s Day with these thoughtful Durham gift ideas and holiday outings.

  1. Treat yourself to a facial or massage at The Retreat at Brightleaf. Soothe your muscles with a warm stone massage, or say goodbye to winter skin with an hour-long facial.
  2. Grab a friend and head to Beyu Caffe on February 14 to hear Gino Speight of The S.O.S. Band, the iconic 1980s R&B and electro-funk group. Tickets cost $25 and a special Valentine’s Day dinner menu will be available.
  3. Enjoy self-care on Valentine’s Day morning with an invigorating yoga class at Fullsteam Brewery. The class is suitable for both new and advanced yogis, plus you can stick around for beer and live music later in the day.
  4. Give a gift card to a cooking or mixology class at Durham Spirits Co. Learn how to prepare a traditional Korean meal, become your own personal bartender, or discover French comfort food. Nothing says “I love you” quite like a carefully prepared meal.
  5. Chocolate is always an appropriate V-day staple. Order locally made, artisan chocolates fromMiel Bon Bons – and maybe throw in a couple of macarons, too.
  6. Valentine’s Day is your excuse to splurge on new bling. Head to Hamilton Hill Jewelry or Jewelsmith for your perfect find. 

See more at Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau 


Site Selectors Survey

North Carolina ranks among the top five states for business, according to the results of a new survey published in the January edition of Site Selection magazine.

Site selection consultants put the Tar Heel State at No. 4, while corporate real estate executives ranked the state in a three-way tie for second.

Here are the consultants’ rankings:

  1. Texas
  2. South Carolina
  3. Georgia
  4. North Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Florida
  7. Indiana
  8. Virginia
  9. Arizona

And the corporate real estate executives’ rankings:

  1. Texas
  2. Florida (tied for second)
  3. Georgia (tied for second)
  4. North Carolina (tied for second)
  5. South Carolina
  6. Tennessee
  7. Indiana

However, consultants and exeuctives had different priorities when asked what are the most important factors in determining whether a state is good for business.

  1. Consultants’ rankings:
  2. Taxes
  3. Incentives
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Regulatory environment
  6. Quality education system

WorkforceCorporate real estate executives’ rankings:

  1. Workforce
  2. Taxes
  3. Transportation infrastructure
  4. Utility infrastructure
  5. Land and building prices and supply
  6. Ease of permitting and regulatory procedures

Read the entire survey published in the January edition of Site Selection magazine.


WillowTree to set up shop at American Tobacco Campus

Virginia app developer WillowTree has decided where it’s bringing it’s already-pledged 98 jobs in Durham: The American Tobacco Campus.

WillowTree will move into a new office at 324 BlackWell St., and is hosting a grand opening Tuesday.

The Capitol Broadcasting Company-owned campus fits with what WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel has said he’s looking for – a place for the company to grow. Dengel said in November his team would be looking for something in downtown Durham, comparing it to its headquarters city of Charlottesville in that it’s a “dense and growing area with lots of alternative music.”

And American Tobacco Campus could offer WillowTree flexibility as it grows. Dengel has said the plan may be to move twice “because our goal is to create at least 100 incremental jobs beyond the small office we have over the next three years.”