The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll

You might recall pepperoni roll day at school. It was the one time everyone ate hot lunch because the pepperoni rolls were too good to pass up. Or, maybe you sold pepperoni rolls as a fundraiser for a sports team or the high school band. Maybe your family even handmade pepperoni rolls to eat at home. 

However you enjoy your pepperoni rolls, these pepperoni-filled buns have been ingrained into the collective culinary experience of the Ohio Valley. Whether they’re a snack or an entire meal, a pepperoni roll is often a comforting reminder of home that satisfies not only the tummy – but the soul, also.

Where exactly did these delicious rolls come from? Pepperoni rolls were most likely created commercially sometime between 1927 and 1938 by Giuseppe Argiro in Fairmont, West Virginia, at Country Club Bakery. With a large Italian immigrant population in the Ohio Valley, the pepperoni roll quickly caught on and has been a fixture at celebrations big and small ever since.

Lucky for us, the pepperoni roll’s popularity has stood the test of time, and there are several local businesses that have created their own renditions of this Ohio Valley favorite. Enjoy one or all three for some satisfying flavors and soul-soothing memories!

Barney’s Bakery

Located in Weirton, Barney’s Bakery is famous for both its pepperoni rolls and nut rolls. “Our pepperoni rolls are the perfect snack for those on-the-go, school lunches, sport events or for those that just love simplicity.” Barney’s pepperoni rolls are offered in three varieties: pepperoni and cheese, pepperoni and hot pepper cheese, and pepperoni. And, they are available in 5.5 oz. rolls or 12-count mini-roll bags. And, Barney’s pepperoni roll is now the official pepperoni roll of West Virginia University Athletics. 

Subscribe to Weelunk


  • For over 26 years, Greco's has served delicious pizza, sandwiches and pasta to residents of Wheeling. Have you tried one of their classic GrecoRoni rolls?

Serving Italian favorites for over 25 years, Greco’s is the place to go in Wheeling for delicious food, friendly service, and unforgettable memories, according to the restaurant. They serve their own version of pepperoni rolls: GrecoRoni Rolls. “World famous and a Wheeling tradition,” the menu reads. They are served with marinara or their housemade dressing in small or large. 

Dragon Mart

  • Dragon Mart: Home of the Perfect Pepperoni Roll.

Located in Cameron, Dragon Mart is a convenience store with fresh-baked pepperoni rolls. Their claim to fame is that they are the “Home of the Perfect Pepperoni Roll.” You’ll find a variety to choose from: pepperoni roll with provolone cheese, pepperoni roll with provolone cheese and sauce, pepperoni roll with hot pepper cheese, pepperoni roll with provolone and nacho cheese, and pepperoni roll with garlic cheese. They also take the pepperoni roll concept a step further by creating a pizza roll with pepperoni, sausage and sauce, as well as a ham roll with American or hot pepper cheese. 

The pepperoni roll has served as more than a foodstuff for many throughout the region. It’s a means by which love, memories and fellowship are served. Wrapped up in that pepperoni roll are moments and relationships that have played a role in how the community is shaped and operates. That roll has played a huge role for West Virginians and Ohioans alike.

What pepperoni roll memories do you have? And where do you go to help re-live those today?


• Candace Nelson, a native of Wellsburg, West Virginia, is a marketing professional working in the nonprofit sector. Prior to her current role, she served as the Digital Marketing Coordinator for the West Virginia Tourism Office, the Social Media Editor for West Virginia University and as a journalist for the Charleston Daily Mail. She has earned her B.S. in journalism, B.A. in English and M.S. in journalism from West Virginia University. She has published a book, “The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll,” and spends her free time teaching at the University of Charleston, writing a food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, serving on local community boards and blogging at Connect with Candace at