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 MUST TRY Dishes in Downtown Galveston
7 dishes to eat, 7 days of the week. Coincidence? Nope. Read more.
That sweet gulf breeze can only do so much when it’s the dog days of the Texas summer and 150 degrees in the shade. Read more.
Galveston's Best Barbecue
Galveston is home to a lot of cool eateries, including some of the best barbecue spots in the Lone Star State. Read more.
Saltgrass Steak House is East End Seawall Gem
If you're coming in from H-Town for the island experience and hit the seawall – keep Driving East to Saltgrass Steak House. Read more.
Summer Sizzles at Taquilo's Tex-Mex Cantina
Time to stamp your Texas Passport and represent the true Texas spirit by putting Taquilo's Tex-Mex Cantina on your "faves" list. Read more.
Date Night on the Island
Not that there’s anything wrong with the staid date night tradition of dinner and a movie, but let’s be honest, it’s not the most creative use of your time with that special someone. Read more.
New Kids on the Block
The island is on the move, as evidenced by new businesses that are capturing the ambiance and excitement of historic downtown Galveston, a veritable treasure chest of culture – from the 19th-century architecture to its museums, galleries and theaters. Read more.
If you’re a lover of all things brunch, Galveston has some of the finest restaurants, bistros, cafés and dives serving up outstanding late morning/early afternoon fare that you’ll find anywhere. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite purveyors of brunch deliciousness. Read more.
Tasty, Hot and Cheap Bites on the Island!
Galveston Island is filled culinary delights! But when you're rushing to and fro with anxious kiddos in tow, sometimes you want something fast. There is no need to resort to drive-in fare. Read more.
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.