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.
Seven Reasons to FALL for Galveston This October
Fall brings beautiful weather and some of the BEST events the Island has to offer. Check out seven things you can do this October! 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.
Galveston Tourism Makes Full Return to Business with Reopening of Railroad Museum
Galveston tourism has made a full return to business with the reopening of the Galveston Railroad Museum today. All Galveston beaches and major attractions are now open. Read more.
Galveston Farmers Markets: Fresher and More Nutritious
Galveston has its share of local vendors bringing island residents and visitors some of the freshest local and regional produce – foods you can either eat fresh or cook while staying on the island. Read more.
Galveston Island Brewing: Cheers to Three Years
Galveston Island Brewing is now celebrating three years of creating home-brewed beer – island style. In a short time, the west-end brewery has grown from a simple operation to a now bustling business. Read more.
Galveston Restaurant Review: Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood
Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood is named after Island-infamous pirate brothers, Jean and Pierre Lafitte – story is Number 13 was an alias the two brothers used. Despite the esoteric name, the cunning culinary creations do not disappoint. Read more.
Postoffice Street Treats
If while strolling along Postoffice and your stomach starts making strange noises, pop into one of these shops and enjoy one of their signature treats and everything will soon be right in the world. Read more.
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.
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.
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.