Drago’s … Home of the Original Charbroiled Oysters
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant officially opened in February 1969 in our Metairie location at 3232 N. Arnoult Road in Metairie, Louisiana. Owners Drago and Klara Cvitanovich are part of a close-knit Croatian community that has thrived in New Orleans since the 1800s.
Drago’s career began at a restaurant owned by his brother-in-law, Drago Batinich. A few years later, Drago moved to the notable New Orleans restaurant Acme Oyster House, where he continued to hone his skills shucking oysters. When he felt the time was right, Drago put his vast experience to good use and fulfilled his dream of opening his own place.
He hired several women from his brother-in-law’s restaurant to run the kitchen in the new Drago’s – most notably “Mama Ruth” Jenkins, who, at her passing in 1992, was remembered as the “best Creole cook in the world.”
Klara Cvitanovich, Drago’s wife, is the reigning queen of Drago’s restaurant. When Drago’s opened, Klara worked full-time in the travel department at D.H. Holmes. She still found time to do the restaurant’s bookkeeping, and every evening she was at the front door greeting patrons.
In the early days, Drago and Klara washed and folded linens until midnight, well after the restaurant closed. Drago returned to the restaurant early every morning to open. He chauffeured employees, spent hours at the grocery store, opened oysters, tended bar and made trips to Plaquemines Parish to purchase oysters from the Croatian fishermen. Today the restaurant is run by their very capable son Tommy, who still buys oysters from some of the very same Croatian fisherman.
Under Tommy’s direction, Drago’s opened the family’s second location at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. This location offers the same delicious menu items, including the dish that made the restaurant famous, Charbroiled Oysters. And both restaurants will continue to be guided by Tommy’s philosophy, “Everything is about and for the customer.”
Delectable lobster dishes, Drago’s Original Charbroiled Oysters, Mama Ruth’s Gumbo and more—we have it all, so come and enjoy! You won’t want to miss our New Orleans tradition at Drago’s!
Awards & Acclamations
“Best Metairie Restaurant” in Gambit’s Best of New Orleans (2007-2012)
“Best Restaurant (Metairie)” in Where Y’at Magazine’s Best of the Big Easy (2012)
“Best Quick Business Lunch” by New Orleans CityBusiness (2012)
“Ten Ultimate Last Meals in New Orleans” by Eater New Orleans