To be born on the island often means more than knowing its greatest hidden gems; for many natives, it also means following in their families’ footsteps by running some of the city’s best restaurants and caring for guests the way only generations of family can.
Italian-born patriarch Tony Smecca—a Sicilian raised on a coastline half a world away from the Texas island where he eventually settled with his wife and sons in 1973—sadly passed away in December 2015. But the beloved restaurateur, who first made his mark with Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant, instilled his passion for hospitality in his sons, Johnny and Joey Smecca.
Meanwhile, Tony Lavoi, a native of Palermo, Italy, is often credited with the creation of the muffaletta in New Orleans, circa 1906, but it’s his grandnephew Rosario Maceo who’s responsible for bringing the sandwich to Galveston when he founded Maceo Spice and Import Company in 1944. Maceo’s granddaughter Concetta still runs the place today, where, she says, the classic Italian sandwich continues to dominate the lunchtime menu. “We are known for our muffalettas; our muffaletta is probably the best anybody has had,” Concetta promises. “We take pride in food and flavor.”
Elsewhere, the Kriticos brothers, Tikie and Larry, may be first-generation Greek-Americans, born and raised in Galveston, but they’re second-gen restaurateurs. Whether at their original Olympia Grill on the Seawall or its second location at Pier 21, the Kriticos brothers follow in the footsteps of their father and uncle’s own Galveston restaurants, in whose kitchens they were raised.
Galveston Restaurant Review: Willie G's Seafood & Steaks
Dining by the water is an Island experience, and for some of us locals, Pier 21 dining is optimal. For an up-close experience of equal parts water, ease, and good eats, Willie G’s offers some of the best. Read more.
Long Weekend Anyone? 4 Big Reasons to Spend July 4th Weekend in Galveston
There won’t be a lack of excitement in Galveston this Independence Day. The island has festivities planned every night of the holiday weekend! Read more.
First Food Truck Saturday Kicks Off July 1st
Galveston is known for its pristine beaches and outstanding food, and both will be in the spotlight on July 1 at the 1st Food Truck Saturday at Stewart Beach Park. Read more.
Galveston Gears Up for Independence Week
The barbecue pits are about to be fired up, while fireworks light up Galveston skies as Islanders and visitors alike gather to say, “Happy Birthday, America!” Indeed, Galveston is the place to be to celebrate Independence Day week! Read more.
In Search of Galveston's Best Cocktails
Whether you’re a margarita maven, a daiquiri devotee or a bourbon believer, Galveston restaurants and bars offer some of the most delicious and creatively concocted adult beverages anywhere. Read more.
10 Reasons You Should Get On "Island Time" in Galveston
The return of summer in the Lone Star State heralds the arrival of warm weather, vibrant blue skies and blooming bluebonnets. Read more.
Step Back in Time to La King's Confectionery
It’s something your parents or grandparents may remember well – sticky and gooey taffy being made right before your eyes. You can actually still witness the century-old tradition right here in Galveston. Read more.
5 Great Restaurants for Gluten-Free Diets
It wasn’t too very long ago that asking to see the gluten free menu in a restaurant would have elicited a response along the lines of “What’s a gluten?” from your baffled server.
The Best Burgers in Galveston
A lesser known tidbit about our treasured island is that it’s also is home to some of the best hamburgers in the state. You just have to know where to look. Read more.
Get a Taste of Downtown Galveston
Galveston’s 70-block historic downtown is a veritable treasure chest of culture Read more.