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.”
The list of the ” 12 Best Restaurants in Durham,” penned by the same travel writer and geared to Millennials (including where to take a “hot Tinder date”), is divided into categories such as “best power brunch” and “best outdoor dining.”