Jason Akemann


As a co-owner Jason Akemann’s main areas of responsibility include new site acquisition, new site design and project management, as well as overseeing the physical plant issues and general FOH/BOH operation of all Bottleneck Management venues.

If Bottleneck Management had corporate officer titles, Jason would be the COO. Jason’s relentless passion, eye for detail and vast industry experience make him an authority on all matters related to operations. His leadership and direction since 2001 has been pivotal to Bottleneck Management’s success.

Born into the Restaurant Business

Jason was literally born into the restaurant business. Jason’s father and uncle owned a five star restaurant in Elgin, IL called The Butterman’s. Much of Jason’s youth was spent in and around the restaurant and it was this early exposure that developed into a zeal for the industry.

However, upon graduating from Illinois State University with an education degree, Jason began teaching professionally. To help supplement a starting teacher’s salary, Jason waited tables and bartended at the famed John Barleycorn on Lincoln Ave. where he worked with past IWU classmate, and friend, Nathan Hilding. It was there Jason and Nate began conceptualizing their business partnership. Thankfully for the thousands upon thousands of Bottleneck customers, Jason decided teaching was not his true calling. After opening the Clark St. John Barleycorn as the General Manager, Jason and Nathan’s dream of becoming business partners came to fruition when they opened Trace in 2001.

Purveyor of Good Times

Jason’s relationship with fellow business partners Nathan Hilding and Chris Bisaillon began on the football field of Illinois Wesleyan University, where he spent two years prior to transferring to Illinois State University. As the self-proclaimed “Purveyor of Good Times,” you can often find Jason onsite at one of the Bottleneck Management venues, ensuring that, indeed, everyone is having a good time!

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We're growing fast and we're looking for folks who share our values, have experience, and are interested in working in an exciting, fast-paced environment.

We offer a fun and supportive working environment, with competitive salaries, insurance, 401k, vacation, paid sick days, and generous restaurant discounts.

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