Who’s Who in Wilmington – Zac Zaytoun

by Jan 29, 2024People, Restaurants & Bars

Meet Zac Zaytoun, operating partner of Pipeline Poke in Wilmington.

Where are you from?
New Bern, NC

How did you end up in Wilmington?
I came to Wilmington for school at 18, moved to Hawaii for two years in 2015 and 2016 and have been back here since.

What is your favorite part about living in the area?
My favorite part about living in Wilmington has to be the emerging food and beverage scene in the area. The last few years we have seen a huge jump in the amount of quality restaurants and bars in town.

What are three words that describe you?
Passionate, hardworking and reliable

Zac Zaytoun Pipeline Poke

What is your average workday like?
I usually wake up around 6 am and go for a 3-mile run. I then arrive at the restaurant around 9 am and spend the first few hours cleaning fish and prepping. Service runs from 11 am to 8 pm, and then I spend the last 30 minutes or so catching up on office work, leaving the office around 9 pm. I then go home to my lovely wife, Mackenzie Zaytoun, and two dogs, Zeus and Knox.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I began my career as a dishwasher and line cook, so running a line will always hold a special place in my heart. What really makes me love what I do, however, is the feeling of pride that I get from customers who are truly having a wonderful experience at our restaurant.

Pipeline Poke Wilmington NC

What is the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job, like many in this industry, is balancing building a successful business like Pipeline Poke while sacrificing the time spent with family and friends. While I’m fortunate to be able to share this cuisine with our customers, I also recognize that the hours can be challenging. Setting aside time to spend with the people I care for the most has always been one of my highest priorities, and that is why we are closed on Sundays.

What has owning Pipeline Poke taught you?
It has given me a new perspective on restaurant owners and head chefs that I have worked for in the past. Running a restaurant is extremely difficult and stressful, and there were probably more than a few times in the past that I was insensitive to that.

Wilmington NC Pipeline Poke

Do you have any goals for the restaurant, and what will you do to achieve them?
I would love to continue to open more and more Pipeline Poke locations so that people everywhere can experience what authentic Hawaiian cuisine is like.

What is something else about Pipeline Poke you want readers to know?
Here at Pipeline Poke, we take great pride in leaving as little of a carbon footprint as possible, so we use all compostable/recyclable packaging for all our food. We also partner with Surfers Healing, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. A percentage of every poke bowl that is sold at Pipeline Poke goes straight to Surfers Healing.

Pipeline Poke Outdoor Seating

Fun Facts about Zac Zaytoun
1. Favorite Movie? Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
2. Embarrassing moment? Messing up an order when a customer is looking directly at me.
3. If you could have a super power what would it be? – The Human Torch’s superpowers. I’ve always been a bit of a pyro.
4. Favorite s out right now? “Am I Dreaming” by Metro Boomin, A$AP Rocky, Roisee
5. Do you have any pet peeves? A dirty or unorganized line
6. Favorite quote or mantra – “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ― Michael Jordan

Want to go?
Pipeline Poke
102 Autumn Hall Drive, Suite 130, Wilmington
(910) 899-4069

Photography by Megan Deitz

Request a copy today!