In the age of technology and social media, Erin French decided there would be only one way to make reservations at the Lost Kitchen, her restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine (population 731): pen-to-paper notecards. The Lost Kitchen, in a historic mill across a footbridge and over a waterfall in “the middle of nowhere” (French’s words), is home to one of the hardest restaurant reservations in America. And French, trying to inject some old-fashioned Maine sensibility into a 21st-century scramble, took the process off the grid.
The Lost Kitchen seats 40 to 45 diners, with just one seating per night for nine months of the year, and a menu that changes nightly but serves everyone the same thing. “We can care for 45 people an evening really, really well, and I can work four days a week, working those 18-hour days, and that’s as much as I can do, and that’s all I can do,” Erin French passionately defends. Erin French also only has an all women crew in a male dominated industry. She has definitely disrupted the restaurant industry and created her own cinderella story in typical entrepreneurial fashion. Her approach is definitely not lost in a restaurant named The Lost Kitchen and has achieved freedom on her own terms is a small town called Freedom, Maine.