Popular Holy City Food Truck Now Operates From Permanent Location
By: Jeff Walker, Restaurant Review
Nearly seven years after operating a successful and unique food truck on the streets of the Lowcountry, Mathias Hickman decided it was time to bring his Pep Rolls to a permanent location. A West Virginia native, Hickman jumped at the opportunity to take over the decades long Carpentier’s Wine & Dine shop (Houston Northcutt @ Coleman) in Mount Pleasant, keeping Carpentier’s established catering business, while introducing his home states signature food, aka pepperoni rolls.
In February of 2020 Hickman through open the doors to the newly named Pep Rolls Cafe, with plans to rename as Pep Rolls Wine & Dine when Mount Pleasant allows, and his beer and wine license becomes fully available. While the surname (wine & dine) may sound a bit upscale, the eatery offers up everyday Italian and American staple foods, with an assortment of appetizers, casseroles, and entrees including pep rolls, people can take home for a quick ready-made dinner.
For the thousands who have dined at Hickman’s Pep Rolls food truck, they already know how awesome and authentic his pepperoni rolls are. He brings a long standing tradition with him from the Mountaineer State, and Hickman does not disappoint. Whether you get his full sized Pep Rolls or grab a bunch of minis, they are teeming with pepperoni and oozing with mozzarella. Everything including the fresh baked Italian rolls are prepared in house. His marinara is an old family recipe.
While the food truck allowed for a limited menu, the cafe provides Hickman to expand his hand held delights, including a half dozen variations of the pep rolls, with the Marie D. complete with banana peppers and black olives. A nice taste sensattion with a little kick. Hickman’s signature Hot Diggity Dog, comes smothered in grandma Lillian’s famous chili sauce. Yummy to the max!
Not wanting to alienate any of Carpentier’s core faithful, Hickman kept several core favorites on the dine in or carry out menu. If you enjoyed Carpentier’s famous lasagna, chicken casseroles, or their incomparable ‘tomato pie’, it’s still there. The slightly chunky and perfectly seasoned chicken salad is unmatched, as is the Secret Brownie. Hickman can’t divulge the brownie recipe without a written order from the governor (just kidding). Hell yes, it delights the sweet tooth!
Make no mistake, pepperoni rolls are the main attraction at Pep Rolls Cafe. Hickman knows full well what menu item gained him his reputation. Hickman prepares his original pepperoni rolls the way West Virginian’s have been crafting them for nearly a century. The history of the meat filled snacks date back to 1927, when Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro, made them for patrons at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, the same small town Hickman hails from. Talk about keeping it real!
Like many artisans before him, Hickman rolls the pepperoni into the dough, initially bakes them, then slices them open, filling them with mozzarella and marinara, before baking them to golden perfection and unparalleled taste sensation. Mangia!
Much like Hickman’s food truck which still operates at special events, you don’t need a lot of moolah at Pep Rolls Cafe. Most sandwiches and paninis are under $10, with an original Pep Roll aka the Tommy D. only $7. Want everything except the kitchen sink in your pepperoni roll, the Diva will add one thin dollar to the price.
The Hot Diggity will set you back a cool $3. Wraps are just $11 with a vegan alternative. Tomato Pies and casseroles that easily feed a family of four go for around $16. Exceptional and affordable, great tasting everyday food is what’s on the menu at Pep Rolls Cafe.
Authenticity is what sets Pep Rolls Cafe apart. Other pizzerias and Italian restaurants may offer up versions of pepperoni rolls, but when you name your place Pep Rolls you’re held by a higher standard. Mathias Hickman hails from the birthplace of pepperoni rolls, and he’s not about to short change the quality or the taste.
If you work, live, or just find yourself playing in Mount Pleasant I would put Pep Rolls Cafe on your lunch, dinner, or just ‘gotta have a really awesome snack’ list. Maybe grab some pep rolls to go, or try one of their many carryout favorites. Their physical address is 976 Houston Northcutt Suite L in Mount Pleasant. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/PepRolls/
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