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Marathon 'elected' to close?

Court records show a debt to the landlord of more than $186,000.

There are at least two sides to every story, and the seemingly abrupt closing of the Marathon Grill at 1339 Chestnut St. on Dec. 7 is no different.

Philadelphia Municipal Court records show Marathon was evicted from its location of 15 years over back rent of more than $186,600. The landlord filed suit back in March. Several extensions delayed any action. (See the notice.)

It's highly unusual for an eviction to be carried out during business hours.

A now-unemployed waitress, who asked me not to disclose her identity, said she and other servers were wrapping up the lunch rush about 3 p.m. when a woman asked to see the manager. At once, two men came in and changed the door locks. A Philadelphia police officer stood in the doorway. Staff was ordered to tell customers, some of whom were still eating, that they had to leave. Their food was packed up to go. Then staff - including cooks and dishwashers - was told to gather their personal belongings and leave.

Staff got an email about 4 p.m. that read:

HEY EVERYONE, We will be closed tonight and tomorrow. We will be keeping everyone updated on changes that are happening and [manager] will call a meeting as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience during this time. Management

This was followed at midnight by another: