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.
Annual ARToberFEST Returns October 21-22
The 20th Annual ARToberFEST brings historic downtown Galveston to life this October. Read more.
Humans of Galveston: German Couple Make a Pit Stop in Galveston
Get a glimpse into the lives of some fascinating people who have made the journey to Galveston, Texas. Read more.
36th Oktoberfest - Premier Fall Event
This fun, family festival weekend will feature continuous live entertainment on two stages, authentic German food and libations, Cake Wheel, fine arts, crafts, gifts and MORE! Read more.
Maceo's Marvelous Muffuletta
The history of Galveston’s Maceo family is the stuff of legend. These days, however, the name is associated with Maceo’s Spice & Import Co., home of the muffuletta. Read more.
25 Ways to Send Your Stay Into Overtime!
Galveston Island is a beautiful, historic beach destination known for its great weather all year round. There are plenty of things to do in Galveston that promise to send your stay into Overtime, which is what makes our charming little island so diverse and special. Read more.
5 Fantastic Reasons You Need to Visit Galveston this Fall
Get on Island Time this Fall because of these wonderful reasons. Read more.
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 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.