What’s not to love about pizza? And Larry Galper for that matter. In a year that has brought struggle, dissidence, loss, and a particularly terrible worldwide pandemic to boot—it’s the uplifting stories that still manage to stand out. In March of 2020, Galper launched Nola Love Pizza. The New Orleans-based venture first started as a way for Galper to entertain himself and his buddies—he began making pizzas at home to raffle them off to his friends. The little enterprise meant to keep him busy doing what he loved grew exponentially, and by March 26, Nola Love Pizza was born. Today, Galper has created and delivered nearly 4,000 pizzas to people in need, all made possible through donations. The driving force behind it all is Galper and his intent to spread love through his love of cooking.
“All the women in my life are amazing cooks, and all my great memories revolve around this,” says Galper. It was this appreciation for the culinary world and all it can offer in terms of bringing people together, sharing, and the art of cooking that led him to give up his lucrative job in 2018 as a talent agent in L.A. and go to culinary school. After spending 14-15 years working with Hollywood creatives at the top of their fields, Galper gave it all up and moved to Nola in 2019, armed with his newfound culinary prowess. He began working for celebrated, London-born Chef Philip Whitmarsh at the much-loved French Quarter restaurant, Jewel of the South, after arriving in The Big Easy. But as the pandemic took its toll on the hospitality industry, Galper, along with a host of talented people in the restaurant business, found himself without a job. But in some cases, as one door closes, another opens—and Galper ripped this particular one wide open. As the entrepreneur states, love is the answer for everything. “It’s more than just about feeding people,” he states. And he’s right. Nola Love Pizza has brought the community together in beautiful ways. “I want the new normal in dining to not just be about retail, but about serving the community,” he confirms. A recent pop-up at Nola favorite, Slim Goodies Diner was so popular, the Magazine Street restaurant will now be hosting a Nola Love Pizza pop-up the first Friday of every month.
Besides Galper’s intent to continue with Nola Love Pizza, he has big dreams. “I see it expanding as all cities love pizza,” says Galper. But whether or not a brick-and-mortar location is realized soon, the original threads of how this started will remain: finding the pockets of love and giving back. As Galper says, if we can give back “when the chips are down, we can certainly continue to do so when things improve. I am actually very organized for someone that’s tatted and looks like he grew up under a rock,” he laughs. Indeed he is—Galper’s venture is gaining accolades all over the country while serving those in need. To donate and contribute to Nola Love Pizza’s mission of spreading love (and pizza of course), click here. Every $10 will go towards feeding two deserving New Orleanians.