George Neal, Corporate Chef/Proprietor
A Greensboro native, George Neal literally grew up in 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. George experienced two schools of culinary education: he’s self-taught but also classically trained through his work at one of Greensboro’s premiere French restaurants, Madison Park. George was the winner of the inaugural Fire in the Triad competition and now commands the back of the house at all three restaurants. 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 cottage on the Neuse River, but you get the point. His favorite part of the job? Walking the line of trendy and traditional, creating 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 hobbies include renovating houses and helping usher positive community change through philanthropy. He believes leading is more about doing than it is saying, prides himself on reciprocal loyalty with his patrons, and is genuinely thrilled when you leave his restaurants wanting to come back again.
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 Leadership
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.
But it wasn’t all food and drink. In the midst of these adventures she managed to earn a degree in mathematics with a minor in physics and Russian, study abroad in Russia, and become a certified Pilates instructor.
Now in her 10th year at 1618 Seafood Grille, Evans continues to delight bar patrons with her considerable knowledge of wine, spirits, craft cocktails and beer.
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 just surpassed a decade’s worth of work in the 1618 family, having watched his personal life parallel his professional career. As he’s worked his way up the ladder, the lessons he learned from the mentors in the 1618 family carried over to the real world and have helped him start his own family (including his kids Bryce, 4, and Iris, 3).
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 moves. He also considers himself a bit of a nut. Allergists beware.