Something odd is happening... Restaurant closings... In December, traditionally the busiest month of the year...

Last weekend saw the departure of Root on Spring Garden Street near 11th, which lasted all of four months.

South Jersey has seen a few fairly established establishments go under, including Emerald Fish, whose last night is Friday, plus Onasis across from Garden State and Food for Thought in Marlton.

For years, independent restaurateurs have feared the chains -- those well-funded and highly marketed operations that can withstand a tough economy.

On a possibly related note, Benihana just opened at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, on the turnpike side, between Boscov's and AMC Theater.

* Post corrected.