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Earlton, New York

Basement Bistro

This one-man homegrown eatery may be the world's most exclusive restaurant with its five-year waiting list  

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Damon Baehrel, the singular chef, owner, and creator of the ultra-exclusive Basement Bistro in upstate New York, claims to have racked up a waiting list a decade long. 

Located in the basement of his home, Baehrel’s handcrafted restaurant has been serving up personally grown, harvested, and invented dishes at a premium price for 25 years. Each of the ingredients used on each evening’s unique tasting menu is grown on Baehrel’s personal garden farm, including flour he makes from acorns and oils extracted on site. Meals can run up to five hours, with dozens of courses. The rustic eating experience has become such a hit that Baehrel says he has gotten as many as 10,000 reservation requests in just a week.

A 2016 New Yorker article casts doubt on whether the Basement Bistro operates as a regular restaurant at all and whether Baehrel’s waiting list is as long as he claims.  

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