Pepperoni Roll

The pepperoni roll is bread dough baked around pepperoni — a West Virginia specialty in areas where Italians settled. It can be a tidy snack scarcely bigger than a cocktail frank in Crescent Roll dough or a meal-size platter similar to a calzone, complete with marinara sauce on top. Conventional wisdom holds that the portable snack was invented in the 1920s by baker Guiseppi Agiro and popularized by his son, Frank “Cheech” Agiro, at the bakery they ran in Fairmont. The family’s Country Club Bakery still supplies them to many markets in Mountaineer country. Several years ago, we received a more nuanced account of the pepperoni roll’s origin from a woman who signed her story “Granddaughter of two 1920s coal miners.” She wrote, “My mother, born in 1921 and still living, used to eat pepperoni baked in small loaves of bread that my grandmother made when she was young. The story I was told is that Giuseppe Agiro used to take a stick of pepperoni and a loaf of bread down into the mines as many other coal miners did at the time. Giuseppe’s wife came up with the idea of baking the pepperoni right into the bread to make it easier to carry down into the mines. The idea caught on among the miners, and both of my grandmothers started baking pepperoni into bread. So did a lot of other miners’ wives who had access to pepperoni.”

Restaurants With This Dish

Trina’s Starlite Lounge

SOMERVILLE, MA

PA Dutch Market

ANNAPOLIS, MD

Twigs of pepperoni peek out from the inside of a mini-loaf of Italian bread.
Country Club Bakery

FAIRMONT, WV

Namaste Indian Street Food

EVANS, GA

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