George Neal, Corporate Chef/Proprietor
A Greensboro native, Proprietor George Neal literally grew up in the city’s restaurant community, getting his start washing dishes while finishing up at Page High School. He worked his way up the chain (dishes begot pantry which begot grille which begot executive chef) before starting off on his own with the original 1618 location in 2004. He experienced two schools of culinary education: he’s industry taught but also classically trained through his work at one of Greensboro’s premier French restaurants, Madison Park. And he gained kudos as the winner of the inaugural Fire in the Triad competition. In his free time, he can be found on the golf course or taking his son “Little George” to as many sporting events as he can.
Nick Wilson, Managing Director/Proprietor
How can you call something work when it excites you every morning? Nick Wilson does work at 1618 — he’s the Proprietor after all — but spending time at his Greensboro locations is more fun than anything else. OK, fun would be checking in via FaceTime from a cabin in the mountains, but you get the point. His favorite part of the job? Walking the line of trendy and traditional while assisting with the creation of a high-end beverage program with the latest and greatest beers, wines, bubbles and high-quality cocktails.
Nick landed in Greensboro for college and loved it so much he never left, finding a permanent home here with his tenured, erudite husband Holt, who deserves endless praise — and probably presents — for allowing Nick to ply his trade during the odd hours of a restauranteur. His belief in community change through philanthropy have earned him the Triad Business Journal 40 Under 40 award, an Action Greensboro Made in Greensboro honoree and the Greensboro Chamber Small Business Person of the Year award.
Stacey Land, VP of Cultural Leadership + EducationOenophile Stacey Land comes by the restaurant business honestly. Her father was educated at the Culinary Institute of America and she found her passion for the business while working in his restaurants. Her culinary pedigree and experience in restaurant ownership make Stacey a perfect fit for 1618, where she serves as Vice President of Cultural Leadership and Education, working with managers at all of 1618’s locations. In her spare time, she develops the wine list for Midtown, where her discerning menu selections won the restaurant a 2018 Wine Spectator award. Stacey was one of the first people in Greensboro to receive the prestigious Certified Sommelier designation in 2017 from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she is also a Certified Sake Advisor (CSA). In 2016, as one of seven hand-selected guests at Domaine Serene’s Somm Select event in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Stacey wowed the judges, and came home with a medal for the winning cuvee.
Aaron Sheehan, Director of Leadership
There’s no denying the fervent culinary passion that surrounds Director of Leadership Aaron Sheehan, whose career started in a pizza joint and evolved into a lifelong obsession with food and wine. After more than a decade in the restaurant business, the Cleveland native was thrilled to land at 1618 West and “nerd out,” as he puts it, on awesome food and drinks with imaginative colleagues. Aaron enjoys reading about food and drinks, and coming up with new ideas, but he’s equally enamored with his patrons. “I love people and you never know who’s going to walk in the door at any given time.” With a culinary degree under his belt, it’s not uncommon to find him helping in the kitchen, especially for his favorite meal, brunch.
Adam Donohue, Executive Chef
Executive Chef Adam Donohue has more than a decade’s worth of work at 1618, having watched his personal life parallel his professional career. As he’s worked his way up the ladder, the lessons he learned from mentors in the 1618 family carried over to the real world and have helped him start his own family, including kids Bryce, Iris and Alex.
One of the biggest lessons he’s learned? The simple things in life—as in food and family—shouldn’t be overlooked. Adam is a guitarist on the side and loves cheesy action movies. He also considers himself a bit of a nut. Allergists beware.
Evans Mack, CS, CSS, CBS Sommelier
Born into a restaurant family, Evans Nowlin cut her teeth on just about every dining job in existence — from folding napkins and washing dishes to catering, hosting and busing tables. Fresh from the nest, she spent many years in the North Carolina mountains working in fine dining under the tutelage of chefs and sommeliers who taught her a thing or two about memorable food, excellent service and the beauty of wine and spirits. Evans has been with 1618 since 2007, delighting bar patrons with her considerable knowledge of wine, spirits, craft cocktails and beer. She is a Certified Specialist of Spirits, a designation of the Society of Wine Educators which tests candidates’ knowledge and mastery of distillation and spirit production.
Steve Buckner, Front of House Leadership
1618’s Front of House Leader Steve Buckner says culinary guest relations are familial, not fiscal. “Good food is a catalyst for so many things in life,” says Steve, who manages all guest-facing relations at 1618 West. “Food tells a story. It takes you places. It brings family together.” Steve learned the importance of food + family early. His first “restaurant” job was at Aunt Barbara Ann’s tomato stand in Alamance County. He believes in the power of a welcoming atmosphere, and describes his aroma personality as cinder— there’s something enticing and nostalgic about wood smoke in early autumn. When Steve wins the lottery, you’ll find him honing his woodworking skills (he’s not afraid of a few callouses) and repairing broken things. True to form, his fridge contains elbow grease ranch , fancy butter, and ice cold naturdays.