Generally speaking, we have always searched far and wide for pizzerias to profile in the pages of PMQ. From New Orleans to Stowe, Vermont, to Syktyvkar, Russia, we’ve covered a lot of ground and will continue to do so. But this month’s cover subject is a lot closer to home—actually, it pretty much is home. Proud Larry’s sits about one mile from PMQ headquarters here in Oxford, Mississippi. And the only reason we haven’t featured it already is simply because, well, it always felt a little too local.
But that was unfair. Owners Scott and Lisa Caradine have built a single-unit operation that has thrived—and earned national kudos—for more than 20 years by sticking to the basics: consistently great food, atmosphere, friendly service and knowing their customers. I can personally attest to this because I’ve been a Proud Larry’s customer since it opened in 1993. I was 30 at the time, and my friends and I loved the place from day one. Unpretentious, a little hippiefied, with servers who padded around in cargo shorts and flip-flops, Larry’s (everyone here calls it that) was my go-to nightspot with friends, coworkers, even the occasional love interest—because it’s a great place for two people to loosen up and really get to know each other. I remember gathering there with friends one rainy February night in 1994, eating calzones and downing shots and having such a rollicking good time that we didn’t even notice the temperature outside had plummeted and the sleet had turned to freezing rain, ushering in the region’s worst ice storm in decades. Two of those same friends spent so much time together at Larry’s that they finally decided they might as well get married—and they celebrated their 21st anniversary last month.
Proud Larry’s opened up the same year I moved to Oxford, and I can’t imagine those early years here without it. I go out on the town a lot less often now, but I’ll still never turn down a Fat Larry slice and a side order of those delicious fries. Larry’s has earned its place on PMQ’s cover for many reasons (as detailed on page 34), but the best reason of all is personal: It has given me, your humble editor, great pleasure and many fond memories over the years. I look forward to my next visit.
PMQ Pizza Magazine