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NOWFE's Lifetime Achievement Award: Drago and Klara Cvitanovich



  The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience ( will present Drago and Klara Cvitanovich the 2014 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award on Nov. 13 at a gala at the National World War II Museum.

  The award recognizes the Cvitanovichs' work at Drago's Seafood Restaurant (3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 504-888-9254;, which they founded in 1969. Both Cvitanovichs were born in what is now Croatia and immigrated to the U.S., and they met in New Orleans in the 1950s. Drago's is now run by their son Tommy Cvitanovich. It is best known for its signature char-grilled oysters. A second location was opened at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside (2 Poydras St., 504-584-3911), and In July, the restaurant announced a third location would open in Jackson, Mississippi.

  The Ella Brennan Award is named for the Brennan family restaurateur who helped build Commander's Palace's international reputation. Past recipients include chef/restaurateurs Paul Prudhomme, who created K-Paul's Louiasiana Kitchen and Leah Chase of Dooky Chase's Restaurant.

  Oysters will be featured at the gala as well as food from Acme Oyster House, Arnaud's Restaurant, Commander's Palace, Emeril's Restaurant, Galatoire's, Kingfish, Mr. B's Bistro, Mizado Cocina, Palace Cafe and Restaurant R'evolution. Tickets are $150 and can be reserved on the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience website. Proceeds from the nonprofit festival's events support local food charities and organizations, such as Cafe Reconcile and the Delgado Community College and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts culinary programs.

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