Fairfield pizzeria has secret admirer

Posted April 19, 2011, at 5:22 a.m.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — Is Sonny’s Superfan the new Postcard Jack?

The folks at Sonny’s Pizza on Main Street seem to think so.

During the past year and a half, Sonny’s has received 17 postcards from up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and west from New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

All of them are signed in the same handwriting — “Your Sonny’s Superfan.” And most of them have visible postmarks from Boston, Vermont, Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

“We get postcards from people that we know, but these postcards are from somebody totally anonymous,” said restaurant manager Bob Woodsome. “We don’t have a clue.”

Pizzeria employee Deanne Gage agreed.

“We thought we knew who it was, but he said it wasn’t him,” Gage said of a traveling salesman from Augusta who pops into Sonny’s from time to time. “We think the writing looks familiar, but every time we think it’s somebody we know, they say it’s not.”

So it’s a mystery, they said, just like the mystery behind Postcard Jack who anonymously sent thousands of postcards from all over the world to the Oasis Restaurant in Madison during a span of 30 years, beginning in 1979-80.

Jack turned out to be John “Jack” Garbarino, who died in December 2009 in New York City. He was 67.

Jack’s identity was revealed a month after his death by his brother Bill.

Now this.

“We really didn’t know what to make of it,” Woodsome said. “We were trying to figure out who was a regular customer who might be on vacation, or a few of them from Florida, where we have some customers that are snowbirds.

“We’re totally clueless as to who’s doing it. It’s fun. Even the mailman, he says, ‘I’ve got another postcard for you.’”

That’s what they said in Madison at the Oasis, and that’s what their postman said, too.

The messages on the cards to Sonny’s are usually the same, as in the one from Ponce de Leon Light House in Florida which says: “No Sonny’s in Ponce.”

Woodsome said that the postmarks are from so many different locations that’s it’s not likely somebody from Fairfield has a stack of them and is sending one off every month.

“We’re not doing it; it’s nothing that anybody from Sonny’s is doing,” Woodsome said. “The first one came and we said ‘Who is this from?’ and nobody knew and then there was another one and another one. It became a real mystery.”

Restaurant owner Cheryl Walker, who opened the place with her late husband Jay Walker in 1970, said she likes a little mystery, too.

“I’m just totally shocked; just so amazed that someone is so in love with Sonny’s Pizza that they would do that,” she said by cell phone, visiting a new great-granddaughter in Virginia. “We’ve gotten them for quite a while now; I just can’t find out who it is. I just thought, one or two, and isn’t that nice, but when they continued, I said my goodness, this is really nice.”

So what is it about Sonny’s pizza that turns an ordinary consumer into a Superfan?

Maybe it’s the sauce, Woodsome said.

“It’s not a secret recipe — our pizza sauce is 100 percent sauce, it’s not diluted, and the owner buys just the finest ingredients,” he said. “It’s a little bit pricey, but the ingredients are top of the line. And we use provolone for our cheese, as opposed to mozzarella, and that has a distinct flavor.”

Woodsome said running a small business can be stressful these days and the anticipation of postcards from Sonny’s Superfan has helped add a little fun. The most recent one arrived March 21 from Burlington, Vt.

“Hi gang,” the writer notes. “Thought winter was over; not in Vermont, though. Could use two things — a few days of warm weather to get rid of the snow and a delicious Sonny’s supersub. Happy March Madness, your Sonny’s Superfan.”

As for who Sonny’s Superfan is, well, that probably is best kept a secret, Woodsome and Gage said.

“The mystery’s sort of fun — everybody’s trying to figure out who it is,” Woodsome said. “It’s like shaking that Christmas present — you can’t wait to unwrap it, then when you do, the mystery’s over.”

Gage agreed that it is fun getting the post cards.

“I think we almost hope we don’t know who it is,” she said. “It’s more fun not to know.”

Copyright (c) 2011, Morning Sentinel, Waterville, Maine

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

 

 

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