The fifth Drago's Seafood Restaurant opens its door in Baton Rouge.
UPDATE: The restaurant officially opens on Monday, Feb. 3. The staff will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting event for invited guests at 3:00 p.m. The general public may enter the restaurant for regular dining Monday night.
We know you’ve been waiting for it, and it’s finally here. A beloved New Orleans-based restaurant officially opens in Baton Rouge the first week of February, but they are letting guests in just a little bit earlier.
“We could have had it right now, or we could have had it right. And we wanted it right,” said Tommy Cvitanovich, owner of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant.
Drago’s Seafood is shucking shells in your backyard. And owner Cvitanovich welcomes the Baton Rouge community to his fifth Drago’s Restaurant.
“We’re just looking to put some food on the plate and make some people happy,” said Cvitanovich.
But for as long as you’ve been waiting for this day, Cvitanovich has been waiting even longer.
“It’s been a dream. It’s something our family has been looking forward to for a long time.”
After a year of construction, it’s a seafood dream come true. And Cvitanovich’s parents, who immigrated from Croatia, set the bar high when they opened the first location in Metairie in 1969.
“My dad worked from morning until night. He would pick up the cooks at their house and bring them home at the end of the night. My mom worked as a travel agent, so she had a regular nine to five. And when she got off work, she’d come work the front of the restaurant.”
Fifty years later, customers in the Red Stick are pouring into the new 13,000 square foot restaurant during their soft opening.
“It’s huge, it’s beautiful,” said Bruce Tucker, a customer at the soft opening. “The bar area is awesome, so watching the game here would be great.”
Diners can still expect to receive the traditional Drago’s experience.
“It’s kind of bringing New Orleans to Baton Rouge, which is a good thing,” said Andree Casadaban, a customer of the night and former employee of the Metairie location.
“We have the exact same menu as we do in Metairie, the exact same prices. We’re going to cook the food same way,” added Cvitanovich.
Now, that means all of the alligator, shrimp and charbroiled oysters you can imagine. Drago’s goes through over three million oysters a year, to be exact. And no matter the occasion, you can sit in to enjoy a dozen in the new restaurant.
“I think Drago’s is for families. It’s a good atmosphere whether you just want to be casual or bring a nice client here as well,” said Tucker.
And at the end of the day, Drago’s is still all about family.
“You know we have all of these employees; we have five restaurants. And my momma still signs my paycheck,” said Cvitanovich.
Again, Drago’s in Baton Rouge has its grand opening during the first week of February. However, the restaurant invites you to dine now during their soft opening. The soft opening serves as a training period for the nearly 200 person staff. Drago’s is slowly adding new items to the menu with intentions of launching the regular full menu on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2.
Find the new location on Constitution Avenue, near the Crowne Plaza.