Chef, Nana's, NanaSteak, Bar Virgile and NanaTaco
Scott Howell, Chef-Owner of Nana’s, NanaSteak, Bar Virgile and NanaTaco can walk into a restaurant and read it in an instant, instinctively knowing what’s right or wrong in the room. It is this eye for detail that characterizes everything he does: from constructing an award winning wine list, to working with local farmers to get the best produce available, to cooking alongside his staff each night and perfecting every dish that leaves his kitchen.
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, he brought his curiosity, energy and his genteel manners to the New York culinary world. Following his graduation, Howell worked in Italy and in multiple restaurants in NYC, where he helped Bouley achieve a 4-star New York Times rating.
In 1990, he followed his heart back to his native North Carolina where he was the sous chef for a year and a half under acclaimed chef Ben Barker at Magnolia Grill. In 1992 the dream of owning his own restaurant came to fruition with the opening of Nana’s, and Chef Howell was determined to “start making food happen” in North Carolina. A native of Asheville with a deep, family based love of food, Howell’s dishes are sublime yet simple.
In the fall of 2011, Scott decided to open a fast-casual concept with Jennifer Gille at the helm that would soon become the beloved Durham favorite NanaTaco. In the fall of 2012, Scott and his wife Aubrey Zinaich-Howell decided to join forces and become business partners as well. They soon opened Bar Virgile, December 2014 with their longtime friend Daniel Sartain.