We have to share pepperoni balls with the world now – Something good happened in Erie, 5/1/2020

Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:

https://www.goerie.com/news/20200428/eries-stanganelli-hits-qvc-motherlode

When you’re born in Erie, you get used to a few peculiarities. Stag and Drags are weird and apply only to us. So many of us seem to hate it here while resisting all possible change, for another. We measure snow in feet instead of inches and complain about it but still feel this intense connection to it, for a third. We have this great beach on which to enjoy the best sunsets in the world, but would rather talk about the snow, for yet another. I could go on, and I will – because I don’t think those are the weirdest.

Pepperoni balls are the weirdest thing about Erie. They’re this delicious food we’ve had for like 100 years that no one else knows about. We know no one else knows about them, because if they did know, that’s all they would talk about. They’re delicious. Pepperoni is good on pizza, sure, but once you’ve had a pepperoni ball you know it’s the only right way to eat pepperoni.

There’s something about how the pepperoni grease bakes through the bread and gives it that perfect crunch that doesn’t exist with any other food. I know this is a national treasure on a local scale, but it’s not my job to tell everyone, you know? It would be weird.

We’ve tried to get the word out here and there, in the most awkward imaginable ways. Ever been to an Erie Bayhawks game on pepperoni ball night? They gave away 1,000 pepperoni ball bobble heads, which are usually modeled after, you know, people. They looked as weird as you’d imagine.

If this guy didn’t say “Erie Pepperoni Balls” on the bottom, I’d swear it was a picture of some weird Easter chocolate. | Photo from erie.gleague.nba.com.

Believe it or not, our Bayhawks even loaned out their team’s name to our culinary curiosity: once every year, they transformed from the Bayhawks to the Erie Pepperoni Balls. If you squint hard enough and turn your head to the side, these threads almost looks like the Maryland Terrapins, only they’re pepperoni balls. On the uniforms!

Someone really did this. | Photo from erie.gleague.nba.com.

Today, it looks like our great pepperoni ball secret is out. Stanganelli’s Italian Foods shipped 18,000 pepperoni balls to Memphis, TN for a segment on QVC, where all 18,000 sold out before the segment even aired! Stanganelli’s co-owner Tommy Spagel chalked that up to a couple of promos before the show, as well as the pepperoni balls’ inclusion in the show’s introduce prior to the segment.

Whatever the reason, the segment eventually aired at a time when none of the 18,000 pepperoni balls were left to sell. QVC considers a product to be a success if they average $4,500 of revenue per minute of air time. Stanganelli’s sold $82,000 worth of delicious Erie goodness before their segment went on for one second.

Make no mistake, it is weird that it took the country so long to discover these things. Regardless, pepperoni balls flying off Erie shelves by the thousands, spreading joy beyond our borders is undoubtedly something good. Head over to Stanganellis.com and place an order!

3 thoughts on “We have to share pepperoni balls with the world now – Something good happened in Erie, 5/1/2020

  1. Hello! I was born and raised in Erie, literally on pepperoni balls. May family owned an Italian restaurant and a pizza shop in the 70s. Now, over 40 years later I’m opening an Italian food cart in Portland, OR. We’re featuring the classic Erie Pepperoni Ball on our menu as well as Arancini balls, meatballs, pasta, soups, and salads. It really amuses me that Erie is the only place to find pepperoni balls, and people in Erie are just noticing that fact. Saluti! Mangiamo!

    Like

  2. Hello! I was born and raised in Erie, literally on pepperoni balls. May family owned an Italian restaurant and a pizza shop in the 70s. Now, over 40 years later I’m opening an Italian food cart in Portland, OR. We’re featuring the classic Erie Pepperoni Ball on our menu as well as Arancini balls, meatballs, pasta, soups, and salads. It really amuses me that Erie is the only place to find pepperoni balls, and people in Erie are just noticing that fact. Saluti! Mangiamo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! Good luck to you, Tony! I have a cousin in Portland. Beautiful place. Give those folks the pepperoni balls they deserve!

      Like

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