Drago's Seafood Restaurant, home of the Original Charbroiled Oyster and one of New Orleans' most famous eateries, is opening its first Mississippi location inside the Hilton on County Line Road later this year. With that comes a multitude of jobs and expected economic impact in the millions.

"We are pleased to expand our family's fine seafood to the great state of Mississippi," said Tommy Cvitanovich, son of restaurant creators Drago and Klara Cvitanovich. "We are thrilled to bring fresh seafood, signature dishes and new jobs to the state's capitol."

Originally opened in 1969, Drago's has been serving quality seafood to the New Orleans and Metairie communities for the past 45 years. According to restaurant spokeswoman Jennifer Kelley, the third location will continue the tradition. "It's not necessarily about what's different in Jackson-it's about what's the same," Kelley said.

The Jackson location, slated to open in October, will offer a similar family-style dining experience and authentic Louisiana-inspired menu.

"I was very impressed with how our concept is going to be able to fit into this space," said Tommy, who has operated the business alongside his mother since his father's retirement. "The big thing is-they're going to be exact. If it happens in Metairie, it happens at this location on County Line Road."

Born in Yugoslavia (now Croatia), Drago and Klara fled from communist rule many years ago. Through a passion for the food and people they serve, the couple built a legacy from the ground up.

"There are no oysters like charbroiled oysters, and no better place to enjoy them than Drago's," said Skipper Westbrook, general manager of Hilton Jackson Mississippi. The new location will not only bring world-famous dishes such as Lobster Marco and Stuffed Crab to the Jackson market; it will also create approximately 150 new jobs.

Combined, the two current restaurants generate a revenue of $20 million in sales annually, and the Jackson location has an estimated economic impact of over $8 million in annual sales.

When asked his secret, Tommy replied, "Good food, quality gulf seafood, great service, all for an affordable price. It's not rocket science. It's simple." When the announcement of the third location coincid
ed with the 92nd birthday of the restaurant's namesake, the Cvitanovich family celebrated at a press conference in Jackson with a birthday serenade and cake.

"We are not going to be strangers to the community," Tommy stressed. "I don't know Jackson that well right now, but I intend to know Jackson inside and out, and I assure you Jackson's going to know Drago's inside and out."

Hiring for the new Jackson location will begin soon. To apply, visit www.dragosrestaurant.com to view job openings and submit an application online.