Jeff Duckworth and Dean Neff, managing partners of PinPoint Restaurant, will soon be parting ways, according to MoMentum Companies president Terry Espy. Papers were expected to be signed Tuesday that would make Duckworth the principal owner.
Espy, who along with her husband, John Sharkey, are investors in PinPoint, said, “PinPoint has been such a blessing to all involved, but Dean is ready to take on some new challenges and this is a mutual decision that will benefit both parties. A chef of Dean’s caliber needs to spread his wings a little bit and take advantage of the momentum his career has taken on, but he is fully committed to staying local and expanding the food scene here in Wilmington.”
Duckworth and Neff also stated that it was an amicable decision, made by two longtime friends and business partners.
Duckworth said PinPoint will continue to operate on the same principles of serving fresh, locally sourced seafood, meats and produce, and that Jacob Carey, who has worked under Neff since shortly after the restaurant’s opening, will take over as executive chef. While Carey will have creative control of the kitchen, Duckworth said he doesn’t foresee any major changes to the seasonal menus.
As for Neff, he is taking some time to explore options for a somewhat smaller restaurant, perhaps of a different genre than PinPoint. He will be hosting several upcoming cooking classes at The Seasoned Gourmet and plans to host pop-up dinners at fiancé Lydia Clopton’s café Love, Lydia.
Neff has also signed on for four episodes of a new radio show on public radio station WHQR, A Place at the Table, which will focus on bringing community members together to discuss local food.
“We’ll focus on connecting people with local growers and getting them to area farmers markets, as well as sharing simple recipes for how to prepare these foods,” Neff said. “People will be able to call in and ask questions and share ideas.”
The first episode is scheduled to air March 6, as part of the CoastLine variety news show.
Neff said he is grateful for the support he’s received in Wilmington and looks forward to sharing his future plans with the community.