Oysters plucked fresh from the gulf, smothered in butter, garlic, herbs and cheese, grilled over an open flame.

Tommy Cvitanovich, son of Drago Cvitanovich, came up with this popular recipe while looking for a way to increase sales -- and at that moment, the charbroiled oyster was born. 

Fast forward a few decades and now you’ll not only find the dish along Louisiana’s Oyster Trail, but you’ll also find it replicated at approximately 450 restaurants across New Orleans. However, if you want the original, you’ll have to go to Drago’s Seafood Restaurant for that!


Opened more than 50 years ago, Drago’s was started by Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, Croatian immigrants. They came to the states with two suitcases, two children, $2,000 and the desire to create a life for themselves in America.

Drago worked at restaurants in New Orleans before opening the first Drago’s in Metairie, Louisiana in 1969. With their very own fishermen scanning the sea for the freshest picks, the restaurant quickly became known for their quality seafood. Drago and Klara also devoted their time and energy to philanthropic efforts, giving back to the community that had given so much to them.

Since then, Drago and Klara have been inducted into the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame and have received the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award for their commitment to the hospitality industry. 


Klara says, “We’ve lived the American dream to fullest.”

While Drago passed in 2017, his legacy lives on. His wife Klara and son Tommy now run the restaurant he started all those years ago -- the family owned and operated business shucks more than 4 million oysters annually and serves up as many as 900 dozen charbroiled oysters daily. Today, there are a total of five Drago’s locations including their Hilton New Orleans Riverside location, the highest grossing restaurant within the Hilton hotel chain. 

If you’re looking for the freshest, most delicious charbroiled oysters in Louisiana, be sure to make Drago’s a stop on your next trip to the Pelican State! For more information, visit dragosrestaurant.com.

COVID-19 Note from Drago’s:

Drago’s Hilton New Orleans Riverside has temporarily suspended operations due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. The Metairie and Baton Rouge restaurants are open at 50% capacity under strict social distancing guidelines. They are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their staff and guests.


Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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