1: A SPRING THAT IS THE SOURCE OF A STREAM
2: PRINCIPAL SOURCE
When considering a name for this establishment, the ownership group, Aaron Zacharias, Scott Morgan, and Dave & Darby Putman, a group who have been friends for the better part of 30 years, considered how the concept for the business related to their passions. Good food and drink were a given, but there was more than that. This is a group who are passionate about travel and new experiences, about understanding where the food and drink they love has come from, about getting to know the places and the personalities that produce them. Getting to understand good food and drink from the source.
At Fountainhead we strive to truly understand our food and beverage offerings from this perspective. We make it a point to get to know the producers of the products we serve – the brewers, the distillers, the farmers, both in our local community and beyond - and to present their products the way they are intended to be presented. This might mean something as simple as serving a drink in the proper glass, or offering food and drink in the appropriate season. It may mean pairing multiple items to explore the full realm of possibilities open to each of them. It may mean discussing a story about an item with a customer, or it may mean bringing a producer in for an event so they can speak to our customers directly and tell you their stories, from the source.
Aaron ZachariasOwner and Operator
Aaron started his career in the food and beverage industry at the age of 15 as a busboy and food runner. While majoring in German at Illinois State University, the industry called him back for good. He was professionally trained as a server, caterer and bartender at the Holiday Inn and later went on to be part of the opening team for the first Damon’s Grill in Illinois.
After graduation, Aaron entered into the employ of Town & Country Distributors, where he furthered his knowledge of fine beers and worked in merchandising and sales. Next came a four-year post at Romano Bros. in wine sales and a growing passion to open a unique bar and restaurant in Chicago.
The search began in 2001 and Aaron filled the time by working with The Beverage Testing Institute and cultivated relationships with a multitude of breweries and wineries. In 2003 he left BTI to open The Bar on Buena, now lauded as one of Chicago’s finest neighborhood establishments.
Sean SandersExecutive Chef
A graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC), Sean has worked at some of Chicago's premiere restaurants including Green Dolphin Street, Rhapsody, Ohba, & Atlantique, to name a few.
Browntrout was created by Sean And Nadia Sanders while honeymooning in New Zealand. As they traveled through New Zealand they realized how sustainable life was there compared to life in The United States. The wheels began to spin and they thought of how they could do this in Chicago. "Fresh & sustainable ingredients put together in an elegant yet simple fashion." Together with his wife Nadia, Sean opened Browntrout in 2009. They won 5 consecutive Michelin Bib Gourmands from 2010-2015.
Although they decided to close Browntrout in 2015, the many friends created there opened opportunities. In early 2016, Sean became the Executive Chef of The Northman, Fountainhead, and Bar on Buena, and looks forward to bringing his unique vision to this group.
Chris ChatmanGeneral Manager
Chris "Chatty" Chatman was born in Colorado. Though he has never skied, he is well versed in Colorado Craft beer. After spending a big chunk of his adolescence in another great beer state, Michigan, he moved to the Chicago ‘burbs, and ultimately found himself at a small liberal arts college in central Illinois. His BFA in Theatre Performance virtually guaranteed his career in the hospitality industry. It was there that he first learned the proper way to pour a hefeweizen, cutting his teeth on traditional German and English brews and dabbling in the trendy new “microbrews” such as Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and the up-and-coming Goose Island.
After moving to Chicago proper in the early 2000’s, he spent time in corporate meeting planning and attempted a move to the music industry/dot com world. All the while, he held various jobs in restaurants and beer bars: door guy, server, DJ, bartender, and finally management. With nearly 20 years experience in the industry, Chris is a self-taught beer nerd. He spent the last 5 years as manager and beer director of Fountainhead’s sister bar, The Bar on Buena (The BoB). At the end of 2015, he moved to Fountainhead, where he plans to help mastermind their nefarious project for world domination. And run a kick-ass beer program. He is the proud father of 3 beautiful children and husband to a lovely wife who is incredibly supportive of his nontraditional career choice.
Susan RosentretorBar Manager / Spirits Director
When Susan turned 14, her mother said "Happy Birthday, now go get a job" knowing what was good for her (i.e. doing what her mother said) she entered into the food and beverage industry and has never looked back. Her true love is working with fine spirits and she thinks everyone should drink more whisky.