JACKSON, Miss.–If you’ve never heard of Drago’s, it’s time to get familiar with it. It’s the highest grossing restaurant associated with the Hilton hotel chain and the first one not located in the New Orleans metro is coming to Mississippi. The announcement was made Friday, with a press conference, a seafood sampler lunch and a birthday celebration for Drago himself, who turned 92.
Tommy Cvitanovich (Croatian, pronounced Sitanovich), Drago’s son, operates the New Orleans area restaurants and says he will be in Mississippi at least one or two, maybe three days per week to make sure this one continues the same quality and traditions that have made the headquarters a success.
He also said there’s no secret to that success.
“Really great seafood, we do really good service and we do it at a reasonable price, and people love it,” he said.
Drago’s will open mid-October next to the Hilton Hotel on County Line Rd. in the capital city.
Cvitanovich said if you visit the restaurant, you’ll get to know the family. He also said it’s a family with strong Mississippi connections. There are Cvitanovich’s who migrated from Croatia, directly to the Mississippi coast. That’s also where they get some of their world-famouse shrimp.
“You’ll see on that truck it says ‘Louisiana Seafood’, but I’m gonna tell ya, for a long time, I’m not just talking the last six months, I’m talking for years, the bulf of those shrimp have come from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
He said the same food will be used at the Mississippi location that’s used every day in New Orleans.
Perhaps their signature dish is char broiled oysters, which Drago’s originated after they opened in 1969.
“There’s no oysters like char broiled oysters, and no better place to enjoy them than Drago’s,” said Skip Westbook, general manager of the Jackson Hilton. “It will be our pleasure to have the ‘First-Family’ of New Orleans seafood enhancing the Hilton guest experience, while also creating new hospitality jobs for our community.”
And the number of jobs expected to be created, about 150. It’s an over $1 million investment, with an estimated yearly economic impact of over $8 million.
So, if you want a sneak preview, you can visit the Drago’s in New Orleans. You’ll be able to get a dozen of those char broiled oysters for $19.95. Most shrimp entrees are about $23.