If you’re anything like me, you fall in love with the idea of certain restaurants and can’t stop thinking about them until you go and consummate the affair. The Lost Kitchen, a picturesque restaurant in my home state of Maine is such a place, though lately, I can’t help but wonder if she’s just not that into me.
The Lost Kitchen is a notoriously difficult spot to score a reservation, if you can find the restaurant at all. Freedom is a tiny town of about eight hundred located in central Maine, about an hour from where I grew up in Orono. Chef Erin French, who until that point had been cruising around Maine in an old Airstream, converted an old mill into the restaurant that stands today. Last year, the Lost Kitchen Cookbook was nominated for a James Beard Award, as was French herself, for best chef Northeast.
However, the Lost Kitchen was a desired destination even before these accolades. I know from experience. My step-sister Kalie and I have been trying and failing to get in for three years. In 2017, we both manned the phones when reservations opened on April 1st only to be rebuffed time and time again by the busy signal. We didn’t know then that ten thousand of our compatriots, at least, were also simultaneously endeavoring toward the same goal.
This year, Chef French opted for a more peaceful, and creative, approach. To secure a reservation at the Lost Kitchen, an applicant was asked to fill out a 3×5 card with name and information, mail it in, and hope for the best.