You Can’t Stop Cleetus Friedman

After closing City Provisions, he took a head-chef job at Fountainhead and reached the finals to host Check, Please!

Photograph: Christina Noel Photography

One door closed for Cleetus Friedman when he shut his market and restaurant City Provisions at the end of January. But another door opened—to the kitchen of Fountainhead (1970 W. Montrose Ave., 773-697-8204), where he took over March 20. Then Friedman got an opportunity at Check, Please!, where he made the list of 17 finalists to host the show. He’s really off to quite a start for 2013.

At Fountainhead, Friedman will boost the current menu with City Provisions successes, like his fine turkey sandwich. He also plans to create new dishes, such as Belly Fire Wings, using a sauce created by Bill Kim (BellyQ, UrbanBelly). He aims to introduce a whole new menu for alfresco season. “It’s going to be a little ballsy,” he says. “We’ll open the rooftop and release a new menu all in the same day.”

For Check, Please!, Friedman sent in a 30-second tape the day he closed City Provisions. He claimed he’d be perfect, and the producers agreed. The show will film him in a mock segment using the three-guest formula, and he’ll await the announcement May 1.

As for the closing of City Provisions, Friedman said it felt a little like he was attending his own funeral. He says, “I was sitting in a bar, and a guy came up to me and said, ‘This has been a very tough week for me. My girlfriend broke up with me. And you closed your shop. And I’m not sure which one hurts more.’”

Even if that girl’s gone, here’s the good news: The turkey sandwich came back.

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