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.
Ten Things to Do in Downtown Galveston
As a local, it is not at all uncommon to be asked “What is there to do in Galveston?” To me, it seems like such an odd question. The question really should be more like “What ISN’T there to do in Galveston?” Read more.
7 Must Do Family Activities
If you’re running low on ideas that will make everyone happy this summer, here are our suggestions for some must-do family experiences on the island. Read more.
8 Free Things to Do in Galveston
Galveston.com blogger Bobby Stanton takes a look at eight great things to do on the Island, all within steps of downtown, the harbor, and the glorious East End. Read more.
Sweet Tooth, Galveston Style
Let’s be honest here. Who hasn’t at least thought about the idea of eating dessert before your dinner? Just as I suspected; I’m not the only one who’s actually made the dessert-before-dinner play. Read more.
Galveston Kicks Off 2016 Summer Season
After setting record visitation last year, Galveston is ready for a busy summer. Read more.
Galveston Historical Foundation Announces HARBOR CITY AMBITION Programming
For the next eight months, Galveston Historical Foundation will examine the founding of Galveston by the Galveston City Company and the first two decades of the city’s existence with “Harbor City Ambition; Life in Galveston from 1838-1859”. Read more.
Enjoy a Legacy of Seafood Perfection at Nonno Tony's Seafood Kitchen
What could make a trip to Galveston for fresh seafood more enjoyable? Answer: Finding exquisite fresh seafood at a fantastic price point once you sit down to eat! That was my experience, at my last visit to Nonno Tony's this spring. Read more.
Cruise In and Celebrate Downtown Galveston
The good just keeps on getting better for cruise passengers who arrive in Galveston for a long-awaited vacation to the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and beyond. Read more.
Summer Events on Galveston Island Bring Sand Castles, Corvettes and More
This summer, Galveston will be a hot spot for fun festivals and special events, including one of the nation’s largest sandcastle building competitions and Texas’ largest craft beer festival. Read more.
The 5 Best Margaritas in Galveston
Margaritas and summertime go together like bikinis on the beach and red beans and rice, but as any connoisseur of the tequila-fueled libation will tell you, all margaritas are NOT made equal. Read more.