Everything about The Lost Kitchen, a celebrated, 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, is adorable. The gray stone building is nestled—seriously, it’s nestled—next to a babbling stream with a quaint bridge like something out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. Then there’s the restaurant’s cookbook full of photos of cast-iron skillets and apple picking. Could this picture get any more Kinfolk?
Oh it does. In response to an overwhelming number of phone calls when reservations opened for the restaurant’s 2017 season—10,000 calls in 24 hours, according to the Associated Press—The Lost Kitchen will this year accept reservations only by snail mail. Instructions on the restaurant’s website explain that 3 x 5 cards must include pertinent details like a name, address, phone number, etc., but may optionally include a personal note on the reverse side.
Cards must be postmarked between specific dates and each person may send only one card. From the anticipated tidal wave of envelopes, the staff will randomly draw cards until all reservations are filled—provided they can read your handwriting. (Maybe the restaurant will, as a bonus, single-handedly save the United States Postal Service.)
And they get it; this system might not be your cup of tea. “We recognize that this reservation system may not suit everyone,” the final page of instructions reads in all-caps. If you’d prefer to use Open Table or make a phone call like most people are used to doing in 2018, The Lost Kitchen then provides a list of other recommended Maine restaurants that don’t require reservations via telegram, smoke signal, or messenger owl.