Clarksburg is a city with a strong Italian heritage and fine restaurants to match. One of the most interesting expressions of West Virginia-Italian culture is the pepperoni roll, as made in several town bakeries. A short length of pizza dough baked around sticks of pepperoni scarcely bigger than wooden matchsticks, the pepperoni roll has become popular through much of West Virginia, and you will find versions of it sold in convenience stores, gas stations, and groceries. Tomaro’s makes some of the best pepperoni rolls: modest handfuls of silky dough risen and baked around the spicy pepperoni, becoming an irresistible combination of zesty, oily meat and fluffy bread inside the crust.
Tomaro’s bread also is stupendous. Regulars know to ask for theirs with a regular crust or a hard crust; even the regular crust has a brawny chew. Serious crust lovers get the loaf that is here known as a “hard crust baked,” meaning the same dough is baked longer, directly on the hearth. The bread emerges with an exterior as brittle as a bread stick (but silk-tender inside). Fredda Martin, Tomaro’s sales manager, told us that some old-timers ask for extra-hard crust baked, the outside of which feels like hard tack. “The hard-crust lovers are fading,” she advised. “New customers like it softer. And the soft does last longer.” Fredda reminded us that Tomaro’s motto isn’t just clever word play. It’s good advice, especially regarding hard crust loaves: “Eat Tomaro’s Bread Today.”
Tomaro’s has been a family business since 1914.