Chef Cleetus Friedman now at Fountainhead

Chef Cleetus Friedman now at Fountainhead
Cleetus Friedman at one of his City Provisions Farm Dinners in 2011. Photo from

This news has been well circulated in the craft beer community, and for good reason. First, to get this story off the ground sooner, let's just pass on the slightly abbreviated news release:

Fountainhead, a well-known craft beer and whiskey bar in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood, is excited to announce the addition of Chef Cleetus Friedman as its new executive chef. In keeping with Chef Friedman's focus on seasonality, he will revamp the current menu to place more emphasis on local, sustainable food. Each menu item will be designed to complement the stellar craft beer, wine, whiskey and spirits selection at Fountainhead. Chef Friedman will revamp Fountainhead's various menus including: main floor, roof deck garden, brunch, and will aim to begin slowly rolling out these changes later this Spring. Chef Friedman will also focus on implementing other menu changes at a later date.

"Fountainhead is a perfect fit for me," says Chef Friedman. "This is an opportunity for me to do all the things I am passionate about with food and beverage under one roof! I have been a fan and a regular customer since Fountainhead opened. I am thrilled that I will get to put my stamp on the menu and do what I do best--pair good food and good drink. Plus, I stay in Ravenswood!"

Chef Cleetus Friedman is well-known around Chicago as a chef who has worked to revolutionize the local food scene in the city. Most easily recognizable as the face and owner of the recently-closed catering company and delicatessen, City Provisions, Chef Friedman has always been and will continue to be dedicated to educating diners on what it means to be sustainable, local and healthy.

"We are thrilled to bring Chef Cleetus Friedman's fantastic food vision to pair with our world-class beverage program," says Aaron Zacharias, managing partner of Fountainhead. "Cleetus is everything that Fountainhead stands for.  We couldn't be happier to be working with someone who shares our manic passion for the world of food and drinks."

Adds co-owner, Darby Putman: "We are thrilled to have Chef Friedman as part of our team and cannot wait to see what he brings to our food program. We feel it is important that we take our time with the implementation and execution of Chef Friedman's menus so that guests and staff can have the best experience possible."

Chef Cleetus Friedman is joining Fountainhead's stellar management team including front of house manager Chris Kafcas and beer director Mike Maloney. Chef Friedman's new menu will begin to roll out at Fountainhead later this spring.

Friedman had to close his City Provisions deli in January. There, he offered several "Supper Club" and "Farm Dinner" events focusing on localvore dining.He is currently one of the finalists to become the new host of WTTW's restaurant review show, "Check Please!," replacing sommelier Alpana Singh. Information and a chance to vote for the host of your choice are at the "Check, Please!" website.

Cleetus also formulated special beers for his events, brewed in collaboration with Metropolitan, Finch’s, Greenbush, Flossmoor Station, Two Brothers, Goose Island, and Dark Horse, among others. According to Fountainhead's PR rep, Friedman plans to resume his beer collaborations in the near future.

Fountainhead is located at 1970 W. Montrose Ave. in Chicago.

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