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A wooden bar with black leather stools.
The bar at Nanas stocks over 250 wines.
Lissa Gotwals

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Legendary Durham Restaurant Nana’s Reopens With a Swanky Makeover

New look, new name, and new menu

Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

This evening, famed North Carolina restaurant Nana’s (2514 University Drive, Durham) will reopen with a fresh new look and a slightly different name. Nana’s now goes by Nanas — the team took off the apostrophe to represent “not one nana, but rather the entire genre.”

Chef Matt Kelly, operator of numerous popular Durham restaurants, announced his intention to take over Nana’s last year. Original owner Scott Howell opened the fine dining establishment in 1992, closed in 2018, and made a brief comeback in 2019 before the pandemic shut it down again.

In 2022, Kelly told Eater Carolinas that he wanted the updated Nana’s to be a “canvas for a good time.” The new interiors are certainly a gorgeous backdrop for a memorable meal. Sundholm Studios took inspiration from vintage Ralph Lauren and the forests of North Carolina to reimagine the dining room and bar. Now, instead of white tablecloths, Nanas is cloaked in lush blue velvet, leather banquettes, and dark wood accents.

The original menu at Nana’s was seasonal Southern cuisine with heavy French and Italian influences. The new menu, under Kelly and chef Nate Garyantes, uses the same inspirations, with a dash of the “come-as-you-are spirit of grandmothers the world over.” They’ve reworked old-school Nana’s dishes, like the shrimp risotto and chicken liver mousse, but they’ve also put on plenty of contemporary dishes, like crispy lamb shoulder and oxtail mezzaluna.

Once open, Nanas serves dinner on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A blue velvet booth with a green tile backdrop.
The original Nana’s was a pioneer of fine dining in Durham.
Lissa Gotwals
A brown leather booth and wicker chairs at tables.
Sundholm Studio reimagined the 31-year-old dining room.
Lissa Gotwals
A green tile accent wall and plaid carpet.
Kelly says he still wants Nanas to be a neighborhood restaurant.
Lissa Gotwals

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