Oct 12, 2022 - News

Nana's returns to Durham

The front of an orange restaurant called Nana's

The front of Nana's in Durham. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

The storied Durham fine-dining restaurant Nana's is on the verge of a comeback, after quietly closing during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Driving the news: Matt Kelly, the celebrated restaurateur behind eateries like Mateo and Mothers & Sons, announced Tuesday he is buying Nana's from its chef-and-owner Scott Howell.

  • Howell, an eight-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southeast, opened Nana's in 1992. Its menu combined Southern cuisine with French and Italian, a tradition Kelly plans to maintain.

Why it matters: Nana's was among the original restaurants that helped place Durham’s now-celebrated culinary scene on the map. Its reopening is a sign of hope for an industry hit hard by recent closures.

Details: Nate Garyantes — previously the chef at Mateo — is partnering with Kelly on Nana's reopening and will serve as chef de cuisine.

  • The goal is to open by next spring and operate five days a week.
  • The restaurant will also offer a wine program and a classic cocktail list.
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