Stacey Land, VP of Cultural Leadership + Education
Oenophile 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.
Max Barwick, Director of Leadership
As 1618 Midtown’s Director of Leadership, Max Barwick’s job is to ensure that you, dear customer, are properly cared for – from the hospitable welcome to fond farewell. He’s been with 1618 since 2014 and this bartender-cum-manager genuinely thinks it’s the best job he’s ever had, primarily because he can push the envelope when it comes to his favorite pastime, creating custom craft cocktails.
Max loves whiskey like you love your family, takes pride in making sure every drink is the best you’ve ever had, and will crush you in NBA Jam. Or any classic arcade game. Really. He has 900 at his house.
Casey Clanton, Manager
A little soul searching on Casey Clanton’s behalf led her to the 1618 family. She was looking for a work environment that prioritized teamwork and fostered community, and that’s just what she found at 1618 Midtown, where she joined as manager early in 2018.
She was bitten by the restaurant bug early in life. At 13, underage but over excited, Casey took her first job at a small pizza place in Savannah, Georgia, where she spent her after-school hours taking phone orders and serving tables. It wasn’t long before she was hooked, and the rest is history. Casey loves pickles, islands, rosé and the occasional PBR.
She’s an accomplished dancer, with 20 years of experience in ballet, modern and west African dance styles. And although she still takes the occasional class, most of her fancy footwork happens in the living room these days.
Donny Smith, Executive Chef
Cooking has always been central to Chef de Cuisine Donny Smith’s life. At first, it was about family, as he cooked with his parents and grandparents. In his teen years, it was about money, when he took his first job at a local seafood restaurant. At 18, it was about education as he studied culinary arts at GTCC. And ever since then, it’s been about his career.
For the most part, Smith is self-taught, but credits former boss Justin Rakes, and a little schooling, with refining his techniques and inspiring him to expand his repertoire. His experience spans 20 years, 13 of those in executive chef positions and even a stint owning his own restaurant.
Why cooking? It’s his passion, and it drives him to constantly learn and create new things. Much like the art that captivated him as a child, cooking is a way to showcase his creativity. But that’s not his only talent. Smith is also a capable survivalist, able to farm, fish and live off the land if need be; sort of a modern day Daniel Boone with a wicked golf game. When he’s not outdoors, you can find him and his pioneering creations at Midtown.
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. 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 restaurateur. His belief in community change through philanthropy has 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.
Chris White, Former bartender, now helping NC resolve conflicts
Chris White has been at 1618 Midtown since its first day in business, by design. When he heard the establishment was set to open, he wormed his way in through a friend and so far, has refused to leave.
This Michigan native and highly skilled dad easily admits to his snowboarding and baseball talents, and claims to be an outstanding singer and dancer. To be fair, his skills behind the bar are also worth noting.
Chris describes himself as a simple, yet complex man who loves yard work, the smell of freshly cut grass and the taste of foie gras. Ask him to concoct something delicious next time you visit.
Jackie Neely, Former Midtown Manager now making Asheville even better
Jackie thrives on change and experiential learning. In work, life and food, she enjoys things that keep her on her toes, like spicy Asian fusion, a current flavor fave.
This Greensboro native, traveling yogi and college nutrition major keeps plenty of vegetables in her fridge, along with kombucha. But there’s also champagne because you never know when there will be an occasion to celebrate.