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 Zacharias

Owner 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.


Cleetus Friedman

Executive Chef

Born into a Jewish family, Cleetus Friedman was born to cook and entertain. Raised by his mother, a baker and regular entertainer for family and friends, it was Karren Friedman who forced Cleetus to get a job at the age of 15.

Cleetus started his career in the food & beverage world as a busboy and continued to work his way through the industry, spending time with everything from short order kitchens to full service and fine dining restaurants, surrounding himself with talented industry people, and developing his skills both in front and back of the house. Throughout college at the University of Maryland, Cleetus assisted in the growth of the Silver Diner by running the kitchen, front of the house, and implementing company wide training systems. In 1995 he moved to Chicago to develop catering programs for Spoonful, Caffe Baci, and Heaven on Seven.

In 2008, Cleetus opened City Provisions with the mission to connect community with food. As a premier catering company, and in 2010 a full service delicatessen, he became a trailblazer in support of the local food movement. The 2010 Local Beet “Restaurant of the Year,” Chicago Magazine’s “Best Brunch,” and ChiTown on Tap’s “Food Industry Professional Doing Most For Craft Beer” are only a few of the many accolades Cleetus has received.

As Executive Chef of Fountainhead, Cleetus has the opportunity to combine all of his passions for food and drink under one roof…and on top of one, as well.

Stay on touch with Cleetus on Twitter @CleetTweet!


Chris Kafcas

Front of House Manager

Those who know Christopher A. Kafcas, and those that do are many, may often remark that if the Irish/Greek wasn’t in the restaurant business he most certainly would either have brought lasting peace to the Middle East or spent most of his life behind bars for a series of silly and meaningless crimes.  Thankfully, though the Middle East still suffers, he found his way here to Fountainhead.

Christopher is one of the last of the Old Guard having worked his way up through the ranks of the Front of the House.  Beginning in his teens at Hackney’s washing dishes and bussing tables to make money for gas, beer and Punk shows it was just a matter of time that his constant presence at Jake’s Pub on football Sundays landed him a job.  Jake’s was the beginning of his bartending career that all told has spanned some seventeen years.  Included in his storied history behind the bar are such Chicago Greats as Arco de Cuchilleros, Bar on Buena, and The Gage.  Old timers may even remember him working the Door at Danny’s, Underbar and on occasion The Long Room.

Whether it be talking about shots, beer and whiskey pairings, food pairings or the absolute beauty of whiskey Christopher brings to Fountainhead a love and passion for those things that make Fountainhead truly special…great beer, great whiskey (especially corn whiskey white and wonderful!), and great food.  Pair that with his dedication to outstanding friendly and unpretentious service and we find our Front of the House Manager.


Jonathan Putman

Assistant Manager

Jonathan got his first job in the restaurant industry at the age of 18, while getting his BA in theater from Columbia College Chicago. After graduating, he started his own theater company, so naturally his restaurant career continued. In 2008 he returned to college for a MA in the Art of Teaching. He has taught English in South Korea, China, and Chicago.  In 2012 Jonathan joined the Fountainhead team. His 15 years of restaurant experience, as well as his performance and educational background, have been an asset in training and managing staff and creating unique experiences for our guests.


Carrie Anichini

Floor Manager / Wine Director

At a very early age, Carrie Anichini hung around the kitchen learning to cook from both of her parents. Soon she was improvising and preparing meals that rivaled her Dad’s best and delighted family and friends. It’s no wonder that as soon as she could get a work permit, she headed to a St Louis familyowned Italian cafe, where she began as a busser. It was the perfect introduction to the joys of great cooking, fabulous food and wine and exemplary service. After attending DePaul University, she joined the Chicago restaurant scene, and as they say, the rest is history. She never looked back.

From diners to fine dining, sushi to steak, dive bars to night clubs, she has done it all in the pursuit of the perfect combination of fantastic service, scrumptious food and the best booze! Along the way, she became a corporate trainer opening new restaurants. She developed wine training programs for several establishments, and this led her to pursue a Sommelier Certification from the Guild of Sommeliers. She is excited to be part of the team at Fountainhead and looks forward to convincing more people to drink sherry.