Since its debut in August 2022, celebrity chef Gregory Gourdet’s Kann has been the hottest restaurant reservation in town. The Haitian restaurant had been a highly anticipated opening for years, first building hype with an outdoor pop-up in winter 2020. Since then, the restaurant has built its demand, in part by racking up accolades including a James Beard Award and the title of best new restaurant from Esquire. At noon on the second of each month, the restaurant releases reservations for the following month — they’re typically gone within the hour.
On Saturday, August 26, Kann will open its books for “in-person” reservations for the first time. But it won’t be taking those reservations at the restaurant itself. Instead, the Kann team is using its clout to boost another Black-owned business, handing out 300 October reservations on a first-come, first-served basis at Barnes & Morgan, the Old Town-Chinatown tea shop and fashion house run by friend of the team Amir Morgan.
Here are the details: Folks looking to secure a reservation will need to come to the cafe between noon and 4 p.m. with an active Resy account connected to a credit card and make a food, beverage, or clothing purchase. Receipts will come with a number that customers can then show to a Kann team member, who will assist in making a reservation. Tables for any size party in October will be up for grabs; Kann is open Wednesday-Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are limited to one per household to customers 18 and over. Following the event, remaining October reservations will be released online at noon on September 1.
The Kann team might reprise the in-person system if Saturday’s event goes well. “This for us is a way to answer what we’ve been hearing from the community in terms of people not being able to get into Kann, and wanting to do something simple and thoughtful to give people access to our reservations,” Gourdet told the Oregonian.
Battling it out on Resy has left some customers frustrated, whether they’ve been met with disappointment after failing to clinch a booking before reservations are all snatched up, or they’re less tech-savvy folks who think they’ve successfully made a reservation only to show up and find out they’re not in the system.
A year into the restaurant, reservations are still so prized that the team regularly gets emails from customers venting their frustrations, and even straight-up hate mail. Gourdet’s business partner Tia Vanich told the Oregonian that reservations have been sold via Instagram or Craigslist, which creates confusion when those secondhand reservations show up and are unaware of the restaurant’s rules, such as its table time limit. Another dilemma cropped up earlier this month when Gourdet discovered seats at Kann were being bartered on Appointment Trader, a platform that allows users to resell reservations.
But despite the imperfections of online reservation systems, Kann will continue to primarily use them.
“For us as restaurant owners, if we had to handle reservation requests by phone or email or Instagram, we would need to hire at least 2-3 people to handle it,” Gourdet told the Oregonian. “All the questions, the size changes, people coming late, it’s a lot.”