Nick Wilson, 36, Restaurant Proprietor
Nick Wilson came to Greensboro for college at UNC-Greensboro in 2001 and loved the community so much he never left. Today, he runs four businesses as the operations director and proprietor of 1618 Concepts, an independently owned local restaurant group that includes 1618 Seafood Grille, 1618 Downtown, 1618 Wine Lounge and 1618 On Location.
Nick, 36, helped to grow the restaurant group from one restaurant with 20 employees to three and a catering division with 91 employees. He played an integral role in the creation of 1618 Downtown, representing a +$400,000 investment in the revitalization of downtown Greensboro.
He devotes time to think about the future of 1618 and what’s next, while overseeing the business financials, the payroll and the front-of-the-house leadership for the entire restaurant group.
“What’s fun about it is I get to dabble in a lot of things.”
As 1618 Seafood Grille celebrates its 12th anniversary, Nick reflects on why the restaurant group has flourished.
“We strive to create a great experience and do our best to comfortably nudge our customers out of their comfort zone.”
From year-over-year top ratings, to popularity among foodies both local and visiting, to the most inventive yet “approachable” menus in the area, it’s clear that 1618 Concepts delivers on its promises. Booked-up reservations and standing-room-only in the bar areas tell the story best.
But that consistently great and unique experience isn’t the only thing that sets 1618 apart from others. Nick finds the relationships he and his team build with their customers to be the most rewarding part of the job.
“What I love the most is the dynamic between our patrons and our team members, and watching that foster over the years,” he says.
Nick believes these relationships are important because they lead to collaboration in helping to build a stronger community. 1618 is well-respected for its support of ventures that customers spearhead like non-profit events, entrepreneurial initiatives and community gatherings. Nick and 1618 support organizations like the Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro Kid’s Path annual event, Earlier.org, Triad Health Project, the Alight Foundation, and the Touring Theatre of NC. He has served on the board of the Guilford Green Foundation, has co-led its annual fund drive and co-chaired GGF’s 16th annual Gala which raised the most money in the organization’s history.
Nick also supports economic development initiatives in Greensboro. For instance, in 2015 he launched the first annual Downtown GSO Restaurant Week to benefit the Downtown Greenway project.
It’s about reciprocation. “As a responsible member of a community, you have to give as much as you take,” Nick says.