If you lived in and around Belfast, Maine two years ago then the name The Lost Kitchen is not foreign to you…that is if you’d been living under a rock. What went from secret dinners to a full fledged restaurant with local, Maine fare, The Lost Kitchen was the brain child of Erin French, who I am lucky to call a friend. Erin and I have known each other since we were five years old, growing up in the cow country that we call Waldo County. Her very successful Belfast restaurant closed in 2013 and Erin began this amazing journey of self reflection and culinary ass kicking by taking her famed recipes on the road in her renovated Airstream, cooking dinner for hungry patrons at her traveling dinners on local farms all over Maine last summer. I had the pleasure of attending one of those dinners for my anniversary with my husband last August.
Well, Erin is at it again with what is going to be an amazing dining experience for people who appreciate simple cooking with thoughtful, local ingredients. Erin’s life and cooking has come full circle and she has found her way back to that little town in Freedom that we grew up in, and her new restaurant opens up at the end of this month. Located in the renewed and renovated Mill at Freedom Falls, you will find the new home of The Lost Kitchen. With a few rolls of film in my bag, I went to visit Erin during the construction phase of her space inside the mill on a hazy, overcast day early this spring. The blend of old features of the original grain belts hanging from the ceiling mixed with the shiny, new French gas stove that Erin will cook on in front her diners is a perfect blend of styles and a lovely reflection of Erin’s personality. From the walk across the bridge over the rushing stream, to the rustic, cozy features inside this stunning, historic mill, the experience of this place will leave you asking for more. I will be back at the restaurant at the end of this month to photograph their soft opening and experience the relaxed, personal dining that she is famous for. If you’d like more information about how to get a seat at the table, follow Erin on Facebook. To see a short video about the mill and the power it will produce, click here.