Lafayette has a special place in the heart of the man who gave away more than 80,000 meals after Hurricane Katrina. And he’d like nothing more than to bring his famous charbroiled oysters to town.
Don’t get Tommy Cvitanovich started about Lafayette. He absolutely loves this place. And while he’s tabled plans to expand his famous Drago’s Seafood Restaurant from the New Orleans area to the Hub City, he’s hinting that he’ll likely be back scouting later this summer. “We were looking at a couple of places in the River Ranch area. I love that neighborhood,” Cvitanovich told The Independent Friday morning, noting that expansion is definitely in his future. “If you look at the demographics of the River Ranch area, it is very, very impressive. Although I’m not an expert on demographics, I would bet that there are not many places in Louisiana that have as influential and high-end demographics as River Ranch. The business opportunity is there for us," he says. "Are we going to look again in Lafayette this summer? Very possibly. My goal is to have another restaurant one day, either Baton Rouge, Lafayette and/or Houston.”
Cvitanovich, who runs the two Drago’s locations — the original in Metairie and the now 5-year-old location in the Hilton on Poydras — says the main reason he backed away is to devote more time to the Hilton restaurant. “My customers ... I want to make sure everything is handled properly. The Hilton is kind of growing a little too fast for us," he says. "I want to make sure we stay on top of our game.”
There's a personal reason as well. The father of four, Cvitanovich says quality of life with his family is high on his list of priorities, and he does not want to spread himself too thin. He also wants to be sure he makes the right move at the right time.
Clearly, however, Lafayette appears to have the edge. “We didn’t pick another area over [Lafayette],” Cvitanovich stresses. “When we do start looking again, that region will be a priority for us.
“It doesn’t matter if you go into a Burger King, a fast food restaurant or a fine dining restaurant in Lafayette, everybody is nice. I just like Lafayette. In being one of the people in the [Louisiana] restaurant association, one of the higher ups in the association in the last few years, we’ve gone to Lafayette, and every single time I’ve gone there I’ve had a great experience."
Cvitanovich says he has a lot of Lafayette customers and some really good friends here as well. “What really spurred my interest, too, was when I was in Washington, D.C. I was king of the Washington Mardi Gras Ball this year, and I met your mayor and I met some of your chamber people. They’re the ones that really got me to go and look and touch and feel and taste that area,” he continues.
Drago’s was founded in 1969 by Cvitanovich’s parents, Drago and Klara Cvitanovich. Drago is now retired and Klara is still helping run the restaurants.
Though Drago's offers a full seafood menu, charbroiled oysters are what it's most famous for. But those didn’t hit the menu until 1993 when Tommy, a chef, decided to experiment with a sauce of garlic, butter and herbs. He brushed the sauce on a fresh batch of oysters, dusted them with a blend of Parmesan and Romano cheese and cooked them in their shell on a hot grill. Simply delicious.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage