Lee-Márquez of Comal 864 named James Beard semifinalist best chef

Posted on

Greenville restaurant owner and head chef Dayna Lee-Márquez has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard‘s Best Chef: Southeast for 2023.

Lee-Márquez, a native of Texas, is the owner of West Greenville’s restaurant Comal 864, located at 1112 Woodside Ave. The restaurant brings a Southwest Texas flavor to the local food scene.

Lee-Márquez is among 20 other finalists for the top chef award, including two others from South Carolina: Daniel “Dano” Heinze of Vern’s in Charleston and Jessica Shillato of the Spotted Salamander in Columbia.

“I’m just as surprised as everyone else is,” Lee-Márquez said. “I’m not classically trained, I learned how to cook from my grandmother. The flavors I bring from South Texas are a fusion of border food.”

Across the SouthSee the 2023 James Beard Awards semifinalists

This is one of Comal 864's burritos which is made of: rice, beans, cheese, chopped steak, pico de gallo, crema, with hot sauce.  (Photo: ALEX HICKS JR./STAFF)

Comal 864 is known for its Tex-Mex cuisine, as Lee-Marquez has introduced its South Texas ties and pallet to Greenville, morphing its former food truck into one of the top Mexican menus within city limits.

The menu includes the popular Birria Quesitacos with shredded marinated beef and a consommé dip, alongside their rendition of a classic flour tortilla burrito. The breakfast menu is well known for its seven different burrito options starting at $5

See also  Jackson Hole Ski Demo

The restaurant also gives away at least 100 tacos per week, while hosting holiday lunches for those who are in need of food.

Dayna Lee-Márquez of the Comal 864 restaurant in Greenville.  Dayna Lee-Márquez, of the Comal 864 restaurant in Greenville, SC is a semifinalist for the 2023 James Beard Awards Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Lee-Márquez says she would not be nominated for this award if not for the Greenville community and her staff.

“We are very community-oriented,” Lee-Márquez said. “I have a very maternal energy, and when combined with good creative food, and service, I think that’s the perfect equation.”

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community equity, sustainability, and a culture where all canthrive, according to a statement from the James Beard Foundation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *