CHEF CELESTINO DRAGO WELCOMES
RESTAURATEUR PIERO SELVAGGIO TO DRAGO CENTRO
For over 40 years, restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino fame has been close friends, colleagues, and a healthy competitor with fellow restaurateur Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers. Now, Piero has come onboard as Managing Partner at Chef Celestino’s Drago Centro.
Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met more than four decades ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own. Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications including Wine Spectator, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, local Los Angeles press. with more along the way. In 2018, after 45 plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges.
Piero met with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue to being a new chapter.
Celestino has also created a restaurant empire of his own featuring IL Pastaio, Celestino Ristorante, Drago Bakery, Drago Ristorante, Drago Catering & Special Events, and for the past 11 years, Drago Centro has been Downtown L.A.’s premier dining destination for fans of an authentic Italian experience with a modern and innovative edge.
“When I first arrived in Los Angeles there was nothing else like Valentino in Santa Monica and I always looked up to Piero as a mentor,” Celestino explained. “Piero helped me out with many of my early ventures and being that we are both from Sicily, we have always had a special respect for one another.”
Over the years Piero and Celestino have remained very close and have done many events together. Both men have also dedicated their legacies to promoting modern Italian cooking with fine ingredients, so it is no surprise that these two celebrated restaurateurs would finally come together.
“When Piero decided to retire, we just kept talking,” Celestino said. “You can never really retire from this business, so the conversation just kept going.”
And, the timing could not be more serendipitous as Celestino just Reopened Drago Centro while introducing a stunning new outdoor dining patio, new summer menu, takeout, delivery, curbside pickup, and now the exciting celebratory new partnership between Chef Celestino Drago and the maestro himself, Piero Selvaggio.
“I am very excited to bring Drago Centro to the next level in time,
Piero pointed out. “Celestino and I understand each other completely and we are focusing on the future of dining in Los Angeles. I feel the stamina of this new project and I am excited for all of the new things we are going to do together now and in the future.”
Drago Centro, located at 525 S. Flower Street, will be open for Outdoor Patio Dining, Takeout, Delivery, and Curbside Pickup every Monday through Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm. Call 213-228-8998.
Photography Courtesy Of: Drago Centro