Slideshow: Notes from the West Virginia Pepperoni Roll Highway

Country Club Bakery
Country Club Bakery
Widely considered one of the best (and maybe the first?)—Country Club is a tiny bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia that makes these delicious fresh baked double-chamber pepperoni rolls, bigger than the average gas station version, and stuffed with rectangular pepperoni sticks.

Country Club Bakery: 1211 Country Club Road Fairmont, WV 26554 (map) (304) 363-5690 ;

Country Club Bakery—Fairmont
Country Club Bakery—Fairmont
Here's the Country Club roll before being ripped in half. Note the orange pepperoni grease soaking the roll with moisture and flavor, one of the signatures of a real West Virginia pepperoni roll.

Country Club Bakery: 1211 Country Club Road Fairmont, WV 26554 (map) (304) 363-5690 ;

Pat's Bakery Pepperoni Rolls
Pat's Bakery Pepperoni Rolls
The first Pepperoni Roll I tried a few years ago was one of these dinner-roll sized gas station versions, also often sold in sacks of 6 or 12. Best eaten at room temperature, ideally while drinking a 32-ounce can of beer in the back of a pickup truck driving through the mountains. These are from Pat's Bakery in Tunnelton, and pretty common at least in the northern part of the state.
The Country Store—Markleysburg, PA
The Country Store—Markleysburg, PA
A gas station / grocery store we stumbled upon a few miles from the Pennsylvania / Maryland / West Virginia border that bakes their own pepperoni rolls. Awesome.

The Country Store: 4634 National Pike, Markleysburg, Pennsylvania (map) (724) 329-0700 ; The Country Store on Facebook

The Country Store —Markleysburg, PA
The Country Store —Markleysburg, PA
Most fresh baked pepperoni rolls are larger, but these were awesome dumpling-sized rolls, with a sweeter less white-bready dough, maybe some of my favorites so far. Note the abundance of delicious orange grease stains.

The Country Store: 4634 National Pike, Markleysburg, Pennsylvania (map) (724) 329-0700 ; The Country Store on Facebook

Star City Hot Dogs—Morgantown, WV
Star City Hot Dogs—Morgantown, WV
And now for something completely different—a giant, almost hoagie sized pepperoni roll, served hot from a hot dog stand. They split the roll in half like a sandwich, then fill it with hot dog chili and tons of cheese and throw it in a toaster oven.

Star City Hot Dogs: 3417 University Avenue Morgantown, WV 26505 (map) (304) 599-5199 ;

Hot Pepperoni Roll—Western Maryland
Hot Pepperoni Roll—Western Maryland
Here's another hot pepperoni roll from a gas station / deli in the westernmost sliver of Maryland. A long pepperoni roll, cut and filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and more pepperoni.
Hot Pepperoni Roll —Western Maryland
Hot Pepperoni Roll —Western Maryland
Hot and crispy with a thick, cheesy crust, this one came the closest to grinder or stromboli territory. Not bad, and much better than the "Italian Subs" also available at this place, but definitely getting away from what makes the West Virginia Pepperoni Roll special.
Morgantown—Chico's Bakery
Morgantown—Chico's Bakery
In Morgantown, we found our intended destination Nonna's all out of pepperoni rolls for the day, and ended up at Chico's Bakery, a full-on pepperoni roll factory that's open to the public in the form of a little chained-off standing area where you can buy as many or as few Julia's brand Pepperoni Rolls as you want.

Chico Bakery: 281 Don Knotts Boulevard Morgantown, WV 26501 (map) (304) 292-5480 ; pepperonirolls.com

Julia's Pepperoni Rolls—Hot Cheese
Julia's Pepperoni Rolls—Hot Cheese
Filled with sliced pepperoni rather than sticks, and lots of hot pepper cheese, these are really getting almost into hot pocket territory. Delicious hot or cold.

Chico Bakery: 281 Don Knotts Boulevard Morgantown, WV 26501 (map) (304) 292-5480 ; pepperonirolls.com

Julia's Pepperoni Rolls—Double Stuffed
Julia's Pepperoni Rolls—Double Stuffed
No cheese, just jam packed dual pepperoni chambers on this one, ensuring maximum orange grease distribution. Delicious.

Chico Bakery: 281 Don Knotts Boulevard Morgantown, WV 26501 (map) (304) 292-5480 ; pepperonirolls.com