Thursday, October 23, 2014

NOWFE honors New Orleans Oyster Legends

Drago and Klara Cvitanovich of Drago's Seafood Restaurant
will receive the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award
Nov. 13, 2014 at the National WWII Museum. 
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) is proud to announce that is it honoring Drago & Klara Cvitanovich, founders of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, with the 2014 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award. The gala celebration will take place on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at the National World War II Museum, U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. Mr. & Mrs. Cvitanovich have owned and operated Drago’s Seafood Restaurant in Metairie since 1969. 

“As the newest member of the NOWFE Board of Directors, I am extremely proud to be presenting this award in honor of my aunt, Ella Brennan,” states Lauren Brennan Brower, Owner & Managing Partner of Dickie Brennan & Co. “The Cvitanovich’s are perfect examples of what this award represents: hard work and a lifelong passion for our industry.”

The Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award recognizes someone each year that has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community. The Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan. Her deep passion and commitment has made a significant and longstanding impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry. The award’s past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring and Chef Leah Chase.

The Cvitanovich’s were born in Yugoslavia, now Croatia, before immigrating to the United States, where they ultimately met in the mid-1950’s during Mardi Gras. They married three weeks later and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia and had two sons Tommy and Jerry. They later returned to New Orleans and opened Drago’s restaurant, where they have been an integral part of the hospitality industry ever since, serving the greater New Orleans community through service and philanthropy.

"Klara and Drago Cvitanovich embody the spirit of the American Dream," said Stan Harris, Louisiana Restaurant Association President & CEO. "They have spent their lives serving their community and are deserving of this honor and so much more."

Tickets to the event are available here for $150 per person, and proceeds benefit the many local non-profit organizations that NOWFE supports throughout the year.

For more than 22 years the NOWFE has showcased the culinary excellence in our community alongside national and international wines while raising more than $1 million for local non-profit organizations. The LRA Education Foundation's ProStart Program, a culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum in 52 high schools throughout the state is among the NOWFE beneficiaries.  

For additional press information, including downloadable images, contact Liz Bodet 504.583.5550, or visit the media center at

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