FountainheadAddress: 1970 W. Montrose Avenue
If you enjoy drinking and shouting, you;re going to love Fountainhead, the eagerly anticipated “gastropub” that recently opened on the northeast corner of Montrose and Damen. Or as they like to say, it’s nestled in the heart of the Ravenswood, Lincoln Square and Northcenter neighborhoods.
Even before Fountainhead officially opened, it had 100 fans on Facebook, and there was an hour-long wait for a table. But Fountainhead’s early success was no fluke, nor was it due solely to the triple bypass location. The owner also operates Bar on Buena, and the one-and-only “Beer Dude” (Phil Kuhl, formerly of Sheffield;s) has cultivated a seasonal list of more than 20 local and import brews on draft ($5 to $8), as well as installing hand-pumped beer engines in the center of the bar.
But this is not just a destination for “Beer Dude” wannabes. You?ll also find a sophisticated wine list following pages of bourbons and whiskeys from exotic locales such as the UK, Japan, and Iowa. Servers are plentiful and extremely friendly, but some servers still struggle when it comes to drink questions. But you probably won’t be able to hear them with the dull roar of the crowd in the background.
Speaking of the menu, Robyn Marfurt (also from Bar on Buena) is running Fountainhead?s kitchen, and she has created a relatively brief list of multi-cultural options that compliment the diversity of beverages. European, Mediterranean, and Asian influences appear under cutesy titles like ?Stuff on Bread? and ?Not Sharing.? So depending on which corner of the globe you want to pretend you?re sitting in, you can have ?Half Wit? mussels ($8) with Cantillon Kriek, bruschetta ($8) with Pinot Grigio, or a hoisin-braised pork belly sandwich topped with pickled vegetables and wasabi ($10) with Suntory Yamazaki Single Malt. Feel free to correct my pairing suggestions below!
I?m looking forward to sampling the Old Lincoln Ave platter ($14) of sausages, radishes, cheese spread (bring on the obatzda!), and cider-braised cabbage along with a rauchbier when Fountainhead opens its rooftop patio in July.