Add A Little “Pep” To Your Dining Experience In Marion County

photo of pepperoni rolls with a coal miners dinner pail in the background

Pepperoni rolls are one of the little known treasures of the Mountain State. These tasty treats, an idea that developed deep in the Marion County coal mines, have been coming out of Fairmont for more than 100 years.

Coal MinersBecause miners needed to pack a meal that could go long hours without refrigeration, they would oftentimes fill their metal dinner buckets with sticks of pepperoni and loaves of bread.  Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro, one of the Italian coal miners, had an ingenious idea; he started slicing the pepperoni into smaller sticks and baking them in the bread. After doing this for many of the local miners to take for their lunches, his invention became so popular he quit the mines and opened Country Club Bakery.

Now that you know the history, it’s time to experience a pepperoni roll. If you are lucky enough to be in Marion County you can taste West Virginia’s state food first hand. We have several restaurants that are known literally around the world for their take on this home-town favorite.

You may know that Country Club Bakery was started by Argiro but do you know that the bakery will ship pepperoni rolls anywhere in the United States? Find ordering details here.

Now what? You have several options.

Open the bag and eat all dozen. Or. . . 

Embellish with cheese. Locals usually use shredded mozzarella or provolone.  Although in a pinch, a cheese stick pulled apart will suffice. Slice the pepperoni roll open and fill with cheese. You can melt the cheese by microwaving the pepperoni roll or heating them in the oven. Don’t over microwave! Keep it low on low to medium power – 30 to 50% – for about a minute. Then we check and see if the bread is warm. You don’t want piping hot bread or it will be “chewy”. Just want to warm it through, keeping it moist and covered. For that use a lightly moistened paper towel or regular kitchen towel and lay it directly on the pepperoni roll(s). To heat in the oven, wrap the cheese-filled pepperoni roll in foil and heat in a 350 ℉ oven for about 15 minutes – or until the cheese melts.

Oliverio's Italina-Style Peppers

Oliverio’s Italian-Style Peppers

A third possibility is to fill the pepperoni roll with cheese but also Italian-style peppers. A favorite with the locals is Oliverio’s Peppers. Found in many grocery stores, these are jars of fresh bell peppers cooked in a tomato sauce and spices.

But wait, there’s more. Another way to enjoy a pepperoni roll is to fill it with cheese, Italian peppers AND sauce.  However, this one is a little harder to explain since not everyone is familiar with “sauce”. It is similar to a beanless chili – only better!

Should you delay your pepperoni roll gratification, it is better to store your pepperoni rolls in the freezer as opposed to the frig. The refrigerator will dry out the bread.

Colasessano's Pepperoni Bun

Colasessano’s Pepperoni Bun

Another option for enjoying a pepperoni roll is the pepperoni bun served at Colasessano’s World’s Famous Pizza and Pepperoni Buns. These buns range in price from $3.20 for a plain pepperoni bun (these are larger than a traditional pepperoni roll) to $5.34 for “everything” – cheese, sauce, and peppers. The good news is that these buns can also be shipped next day delivery anywhere in the U.S. Cost will depend on where the buns are being shipped. 

Mario’s Restaurant has its own version of a pepperoni roll – a roni roll. Instead of the traditional stick pepperoni, Mario’s uses slices of pepperoni. The restaurant also uses pizza dough as opposed to a dinner-roll dough. Traditionally, the roni rolls come filled with mozzarella cheese along with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. Unfortunately, these cannot be shipped.  

Most noteworthy, our pepperoni rolls are now elevated to Major League Eating Contest status.

Now that you know just a few of your options, it’s time to make a trip to Marion County to experience a pepperoni roll for yourself!


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