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March 12, 2019

Lost Kitchen sticks to old-school reservation system for 2019 season

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom said it will stick to its postcard reservation system in 2019. Would-be diners will have a two-week window in April to mail in their requests.
Photo / Peter Van Allen
Erin French, owner of Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom, recently was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for best chef in the Northeast.

Lost Kitchen, Erin French's renowned restaurant in Freedom, will stick to its postcard reservation system when it opens up seasonal reservations in April, it announced on Monday.

French, recently named a James Beard Award semifinalist for best chef in the Northeast, ditched the phone-in reservation system last year for a snail-mail one, inviting would-be customers to send in postcards by mail.

"Sure, it was slow, old-fashioned and basic in its thinking, but it was true to what we felt the Lost Kitchen had always been about," French writes on the company's website." Cards poured from all over the country and around the world, including ones with poems, drawings and stories – and just plain ones.

"Through the use of simple postcards in such a hyper-digital age, we were reminded just how important it is to slow down, connect with others, and make it personal," French noted. "The cards connected us. And connecting brought us joy … and when you cook with joy, you can taste it."

The note is accompanied by detailed instructions for sending in postcards, which must be mailed between April 1-15. No good mailing early, it seems, since cards postmarked before April 1 will not be considered. Cards will be drawn at random every day until all reservations have been made for the season, at which point the restaurant will make an announcement on the website to inform people that the process has come to an end.

Given all the social media buzz and international press the eatery continues to get, this year's response should easily match or even exceed last year's.

For those who don't get in, French gives a shout-out to a handful of other Maine restaurants in her online note, including ones led by women.

She also admits that the Lost Kitchen's reservation system doesn't suit everyone, adding, "Our process takes a little time, a little energy, a little patience, and a little hope."

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