Want to see something entertaining? Mention the words ‘chain restaurant’ to a food lover and gauge her reaction. It is almost guaranteed that face contortions and nose-in-the-air snobbery will ensue. A renewed interest in haute dining has nearly put a proverbial nail in the coffin of chain restaurants–even forcing a record number of recognizable national brands to shutter their doors or file bankruptcy. Once a beloved part of the American landscape, chain restaurants have become the poster child for assembly line-produced pedestrian, unimaginative fare. For the most part, diners have turned their backs on chain restaurants and, perhaps, have done so prematurely. There are still some fine exceptions to the rule and family-owned Philadelphia chain Marathon Grill is one of them.
With locations dotted around the city, Marathon Grill’s menu is a wild ride in creativity. A host of interesting salads, pastas and sandwiches are pleasing to both the Rittenhouse business crowd and casual diners alike and breakfast is served all day much to the delight of late-to-rise bed dwellers. Although the chicken matzoh ball soup is touted as the “best of Philly” on the menu, the vegetarian chili with cilantro and chickpeas steals the comfort food show.
With bright, eclectic flavors and a menu focused on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, Marathon Grill reminds us to not give up on chain restaurants just yet.