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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.

Wine Connoisseurs Rejoice! The Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival is Back

Red or white? And what food choice might you prefer with your favorite wines? These are the questions facing those who attend the 2017 Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival. 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. Read more.

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.

#LoveGalveston2017 Photo Contest - A Chance to Win Cash, and Be the Face of Galveston

There’s nothing like spending “island time” with your family, taking in the Galveston coast while making memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. While your memories may be priceless, capturing them in a photograph could lead to some extra bonuses. Read more.

Get a Taste of Downtown Galveston

Galveston’s 70-block historic downtown is a veritable treasure chest of culture Read more.

10 Reasons You Should Get On "Island Time" in Galveston

The advent of spring in the Lone Star State heralds the arrival of warm weather, vibrant blue skies and blooming bluebonnets. Read more.

Galveston.com Announces 2016 Best of the Island Winners

After weeks of nominations and tens of thousands of votes, we at Galveston.com are thrilled to present the Winners of the 2016 BEST OF GALVESTON AWARDS, "the Oscars of the Gulf Coast" according to The Houston Chronicle. Read more.

Galveston's Best Coffee Shops

The Island has a brewing cottage industry that locals rely on to get going each day, and the wealth of laid-back coffee shops that dot the city is astounding. Read more.

Gaido's Shrimp Still an Island Favorite

How do you like your shrimp? That’s a question asked on the island for years. If you’re not exactly sure, just head to legendary Gaido’s, one of Galveston’s premier and traditional seafood houses along the Seawall. Read more.

Galveston Food Trucks: Great for a Tasty Meal or Snack When Visiting the Beach or Elsewhere

n Galveston, food truck owners have brought their own recipes and preferences to the streets of Galveston – many serving dishes reflecting their heritage or simply the foods they love. Read more.

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