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.
James Ingold, Executive Grille Chef
James Ingold has come a long way since washing dishes at the Cardinal Country Club. This Greensboro native and Executive Grille Chef is entering his second decade working with the 1618 family. He started as a line cook and has worked his way up the ranks. Despite his lengthy tenure with the restaurant group, he’s continually amazed with what he manages to learn every day on the job.
James prides himself on being a hard worker, a devoted husband and loving father. 1618 diners can rest assured they’re getting every ounce of James’ culinary prowess at the Grille, because much to his wife’s chagrin, he doesn’t do much cooking at home!
Evans Nowlin, Bar Manager
Born into a restaurant family, Bar Manager 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.
April Giron, Pasty Chef
Baking is in April Giron’s genes. The 1618 Pastry Chef comes from a long line of women who know their way around the kitchen. Memories of grand holiday dinners, homemade candies and special-occasion cakes dot her childhood.
After culinary school, Giron’s sweet tooth led her to a local bakery where she started as a cake decorator. Hundreds of cakes and gallons of frosting later, her talents were noticed at 1618, where she now explores new dessert ideas and enjoys being challenged by her group of talented culinary comrades.
Katy Bromley, Service Leadership
It’s family that drew Katy Bromley to build a career in the restaurant industry. Not the blood-related kind, but the life-long connections made in kitchens and dining rooms over the last 10 years. Her first job in the service industry was working at MAMA SIDS pizza in Athens, Georgia, where she met her “original” restaurant family, whom she still visits whenever she’s in town. In 2014, shortly after becoming a mom, she found a new home with the 1618 family and joined this tightly knit group of foodies as service manager at the Grille.
This Athens native lived up north for a while, but returned south and graduated from Guilford College with a degree in environmental studies. Although being a mom leaves little spare time, she enjoys sewing, restoring furniture and brewing a crafty cup of coffee.
Melissa Forman, Bartender
Bartender Melissa “Mel” Forman can’t tell you the exact recipe for a drink- but she can mix it with her eyes closed. As a 1618 “lifer” who’s been behind the bar for more than a decade, she can craft a custom cocktail by feel.
And she’s no slouch when it comes to wine, either. Erudite on the vine, she’ll share her knowledge of wine with anyone that will listen. She admits to an expensive vino palate and has trekked across the Western U.S. in pursuit of a good grape. When she’s not quenching her customers’ thirst for tasty beverages, Mel is chasing her two sons, Ronan and Declan.
Adam Donohue, Sous Chef
Sous 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.
Marygrace Llewellyn, Hostess
Boston-born Marygrace Llewellyn has presided over the hostess stand at the Seafood Grille since 2008. And although she’s been a part of restaurant adventures since her college days, Marygrace says she’s learned the value of true customer service at 1618.
Before joining the Grille, her career included corporate gigs with RR Donnelley and Wrangler—the latter introduced her to the fast and risky world of race car drivers and rodeos. Maybe that’s why she prefers hobbies with less chance of peril, like beading. Next time you visit, take a careful peek at her neckline or wrist and you’ll likely see handsome jewelry created by Marygrace herself.