foun∙tain∙head

FUNCTION: NOUN
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

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.

 

Jonathan Putman

Director of Restaurant Operations 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.

Kevin McMullen

Executive Chef McMullen – a rising culinary talent well-known in acclaimed kitchens throughout Chicago – was a member of Zagat’s 2014 Chicago “30 Under 30 class” at the age of 27, and among Eater’s 2012 Young Guns Final 50 when he was just 25 years old. McMullen served as the executive chef of The Brixton in Andersonville and was chef de cuisine on the opening team at Band of Bohemia, now the city and country’s first-ever Michelin-starred brewpub.

McMullen is also a vet of Longman & Eagle, and served as executive sous chef at chef Phillip Foss’ celebrated EL Ideas in Douglas Park.

Bob Zacharias

Beverage Director / Manager  Bob first started with The Bar on Buena at 21, as a food runner and barback in summers while attending Northern Illinois University. After spending a few years in the accounting world, he joined Fountainhead in 2012 and discovered a passion for the beverage industry. The process, or “craft”, of beer, wine, and spirits has driven him to continue learning, training, and providing customers with exemplary service every visit. Bob took a management position at The Bar on Buena in the fall of 2014 and returned to Fountainhead in July of 2017 as Beer Director and manager. As the Beverage Director, he currently overseas the entire Fountainhead beverage program.