Ancho Honey’s Delicious Timing

What happens when you start serving ready-made meals right before a pandemic?

The AnchoBurger at Ancho Honey in Tenants Harbor, Maine
By Jesse Ellison
Photographed by Malcolm Bedell, courtesy of Ancho Honey

Malcolm Bedell was a graphic designer before he was a food writer before he was a cook. Unsurprisingly, his latest project went through an evolution of its own. Bedell opened Ancho Honey last year, in his peninsular midcoast hometown of Tenants Harbor, after running the kitchen at the nearby and now-defunct Mussel Ridge Market, where premade carryout meals sold well. “I thought, what if we take that concept and build an entire restaurant around it?” he says. “I wanted to get into the restaurant business without it swallowing my whole life.”

Customers didn’t catch on right away. “They’d come in and go, ‘How do I order? What do I do?’” Bedell recalls. For people wanting something hot and ready to eat, he added made-to-order options — grilled cheeses, empanadas, fried-chicken sandwiches — but he didn’t give up on prepared foods, and suddenly, the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic put those meals in high demand. With many restaurants temporarily closed, Bedell’s heat-at-home “global comfort food,” from chicken tikka masala to barbecue pulled pork, helped fill a void. Recently, he hung a sign in one of Ancho Honey’s windows: “Carryout Before It Was Cool.”

The AnchoBurger (pictured above) is a staple of Ancho Honey’s Thursday burger nights. Enjoy at home or at one of the outdoor tables. 6 Wallston Rd., Tenants Harbor. 207-372-2111.