The divorce is final. After almost 10 years as partners in the Beverly Hills Italian restaurant Celestino, chef Celestino Drago and investor Art Vella are parting ways. (After a dispute with Vella, the chef left the restaurant in 1991 to open Drago in Santa Monica, but until now he had retained 50% ownership.)
With the partners' long-running lawsuit now settled (Vella gets the restaurant and Drago gets back his first name), Vella can't keep calling the place by his former partner's first name. He's renamed it Cent' Anni (A Hundred Years). "I chose the name because we've been here 10 years and we expect to be around in another 90," says Vella. Everything else remains the same, he insists, including the menu and the phone number.
Celestino Drago is unhappy with that. "I haven't had anything to do with the restaurant for over three years, and yet he (Vella) never changed the menu, never hired another chef. He just kept on with the same people who were working there when I left," comments Drago. "And I had to spend a lot of money in this lawsuit to protect my name and reputation, but at least now I have my name back."