Lemon Hill in Fairmount shuts abruptly

Lemon Hill in Fairmount.

Lemon Hill, the Fairmount tavern that for a while straddled the line between neighborhood corner pub and destination restaurant, closed abruptly, stunning staff.

On Sunday, Lemon Hill's Facebook page said it would be closed Monday and Tuesday for "training" and Wednesday for a "private event," and promised to reopen on Thursday.

But I hear that even general manager Aaron Siak had not been told at the time that the place was done. Staffers are hunting for jobs at one of the leanest times of the year for city restaurant workers.

Late Tuesday brought rumors of a closing. Siak then posted: "Lemon Hill will actually be closed forever. ... Even though Lemon Hill ultimately failed, when we were on, we were one of the best spots in town. And I believe that. I appreciate the effort of our team, working hard, and knowing the difficulty of the climb. Thank you to our staff and all of our guests over the past few years. Cheers."

Lemon Hill, owned by the partners behind the Rittenhouse cocktail bar Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., started off like gangbusters in mid-2012, picking up a solid two-bell review from Craig LaBan.

But most of the core staff from its opening had left, and insiders report that business was off substantially in recent months.

In a statement, co-owner Chris Daggett said: "Lemon Hill has closed and we appreciate all the hard work of the crew that served the neighborhood over the last few years. Our ownership remains committed to Fairmount and Philadelphia. We have a restaurant in a great neighborhood that really needed some change. ... We would like to thank the fantastic group of patrons that we dined with, drank with, laughed with and even on occasion danced with. People we shared our lives with, people who were kind enough to share their lives with us over the years."