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Girhinomofe t1_iuelvv4 wrote

My wife and I have been twice— once in 2017 and a second time in 2018. The rise in popularity has been atmospheric starting with the lead-in to the 2017 season, and at this point I take Erin and her staff at word that it is a straight-up lottery to get a dinner reservation.

Leading into the 2017 season was a feature article in Maine magazine which put the radar on for a lot of people— way more than TLK’s staff expected. It was a phone-in reservation system, with the line opening at midnight on 1 April. We, and thousands of others, flooded the voicemail to the point where even catching the mailbox when it was being cleared was a matter of persistence. I woke up at 4am to call in and got to leave a voicemail, and was called back a couple days later to schedule a reservation (for October, mind you). The staff were up for over a day straight just logging voicemail callback numbers and clearing the mailbox, which led to the current postcard system.

In 2018 my wife and I each made a snazzy artsy postcard, and mine was drawn early on— still, I feel like it was a random pull and had nothing to do with the appearance of the card. During our dinner she had the cards all laid out of that day’s guests, and some of them were very basic (while others were straight up beautiful, with watercolors and awesome hand lettering).

Since then, my wife and I have both made rad cards each year but have not been pulled. Keep in mind— there is one seating per night, 4 nights a week, with a capacity of 40 diners. That’s 160 diners a week. By and large, most reservations will be for 2-6 people, so the actual number of reservations is at least half that number. The season runs from early May to the end of October, so 6 months / 24 weeks of service.

At best case, you are talking about 1,920 available reservations for the entire year, and any 4-top or 6-top tables bring that number down. By all accounts, and with the popularity of a TLK TV show on Magnolia, she probably gets well in excess of 30,000 postcards in the spring. So yeah, do the math there— even if every res was a 2-person, and she only received 30k postcards, that’s still only a 6% chance of being plucked.

We will continue to send in postcards every year, and heck, we may never be able to dine at The Lost Kitchen again in our lives, but we know it’s all just a lucky draw from here on out—


scurvy4all OP t1_iueoqw1 wrote

Thank you for the in depth reply. I might need to buy 1000 post cards and send 100 a week lol.

My brother will be so happy if I'm able to to get in.


Girhinomofe t1_iueq9a2 wrote

Ah, but it’s not like that!

The window for postcards is usually April 1-April 15, and they start drawing names on the 16th. If they draw (or see) a duplicate card, you’ll be disqualified for the season. Yeah, that means that if you get pulled, and called, your reservation is set, and they find another card from you— they’ll call back to cancel the res!

I give credit to Erin and staff for the old school system to keep it honest and give everyone a fair chance. They have way, way, way more demand than they can serve, and I remember seeing an interview where she didn’t want to let the reservations come down to someone who writes a script to pinch reservations online before humans can click through.

I would venture to say it’s one of the most exclusive reservations in the US, and I think that The Lost Kitchen has done a decent job to keep it fair on getting a spot for dinner.


scurvy4all OP t1_iufaj7y wrote

That's actually really amazing. I'm happy to know that it can't be rigged. Thanks for the info.


Kristishere t1_iui0mt3 wrote

Honest time. Is the food THAT good, or is it just good? Any place you've gone that compares, or is better? I'll keep trying, regardless, but I admit, I'd be pretty disappointed if its only as good as say, The Treehouse Restaurant in Portland.