GHENT, WV (WVNS)– The pepperoni roll is a massive staple in West Virginia culture, and their origins definitely have a bit of Mountain State love behind them.

This classic West Virginia food item can trace its origins back the Italian immigrants who worked in the coal mines in North-Central West Virginia. It’s speculated that they were the creation of the wives of the miners who needed a filling but simple lunch with them into the mines.

According to, the pepperoni roll would end up being commercially produced around 1927 when Giuseppe Argiro, a miner who immigrated from Calabria, Italy, opened up a bakery in Fairmont. He remembered how his friends from the mines used to eat a stick of salami or pepperoni and a piece of bread, so he thought: I’ll just combine them.

When Argiro created the pepperoni roll, it was a big hit with the miners because of its more portable structure. After his creation became a hit for both miners and everyone else in town, several other bakeries from across the state followed the trend, even adding things like cheese, sauce, or even peppers to give their own spin on it.

Now, the pepperoni roll is the most iconic food item in West Virginia and is something West Virginian’s always trying to get tourists to taste for themselves. Not only is it loved for its taste, but also for its history with the coal mine communities.

For more information on this delectable West Virginia food item’s origins, visit West Virginia Tourism’s article: Do you know the whole story behind WV’s state food?