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.
From the Blogs
5 Fantastic Reasons You Need to Visit Galveston this Fall
Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Get on Island Time this Fall because of these wonderful reasons. Read more.
7 Reasons to FALL for Galveston This October
Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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.
Five Women. One Saturday.
Published: Monday, July 02, 2018
What do you do when five women show up at your house in Galveston? Read more.
The Galveston Island Bucket List
Published: Wednesday, June 06, 2018
There is so much you need to do in your lifetime on the island! Here's the ultimate Galveston bucket list: 50 things you need to do before you kick the bucket. Read more.
7 Surprising Things to Do In Galveston This Summer
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
There is far more to do in Galveston this summer than hitting the beach, check it out! Read more.
Galveston Isle Kicks Off Tourism Season Memorial Day Weekend
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018
As thousands of visitors flock to Galveston this Memorial Day weekend, the island’s tourism industry will be celebrating the kickoff of what is expected to be a successful summer vacation season. Read more.
Don't Forget Postoffice!
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2018
The quarter-mile strip of Postoffice Street between 23rd & 20th St. has dozens of great shops, top-notch coffee, ice cream and more! Read more.
3 Great Ways to Celebrate Mom!
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Mother’s Day is all about treating those important ladies in your life right! One of the most memorable ways to do that is by creating new memories with the women who have taught you the most. Read more.
Jalapeno Sliders, Anyone?
Published: Monday, March 26, 2018
Read on to discover some of our most unique food offerings to dig into before or after your next cruise, during your island vacation, or just the next time you are in Galveston! Read more.
Seven Amazing Things You Need To Do in Galveston this Spring
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2018
Whether you’re paddling along tranquil coastal channels, playing in an indoor waterpark, or indulging in some first-rate dining, you’ll find many reasons to visit Galveston this spring. Read more.