Over the weekend, the Donkey Sauce was all over our face when we—more accurately, when I (Tyler Maas)—published an erroneous account of Food Network personality Guy Fieri dining at a Pewaukee pizza place. While the mistake was inexcusable on our part, the level confidence our sources (who were eating at a table directly next to the faux Fieri) had in this individual being the real deal led to details, such as the presence of TATTOOS, being overlooked by yours truly. Whoops!
Though it’s not an acceptable excuse for unintentionally misleading readers, another reason we were so quick to confirm this Pewaukee restaurant customer was the celebrity restaurateur is because, well, who would want to be mistaken for Guy Fieri? Who would go through the effort of bleaching his hair and wearing sunglasses backwards on his head to look more like the polarizing television personality? While the details came a day too late to help us avoid the most embarrassing editorial blunder in Milwaukee Record history (even if it’s still a pretty funny mistake), we now know the identity of southeast Wisconsin’s premier Guy Fieri lookalike.
Joe Schonasky works in sales and service for a heating company. The Sussex resident also looks a hell of a lot like Guy Fieri. Last Halloween, the natural resemblance grew even more, when the salesperson who claims he’s “just a normal guy” went full-on Fieri for the holiday.
“It started by accident before I even did the costume,” Schonasky says. “I would get second looks from people.”
With the addition of bleached hair and Guy-like facial hair, the slight resemblance turned into something more. Schonasky started dressing up like Fieri when he went to fairs and festivals, sometimes even adding sunglasses, jewelry, and fake tattoo sleeves to his wardrobe to further increase the likeness.
“I had a lot of fun at State Fair and Taste Of Lake Country in Pewaukee,” Schonasky says. “My wife and I had a blast on Fremont Street one time. If I stopped for a selfie, I had to do 30.”
Schonasky says he always makes sure to tell people he’s not actually Fieri, and he says he doesn’t use his resemblance “to scam free stuff.” His motivations don’t seem to be dark or malicious. If anything, this strange likeness might even help brighten people’s days.
“My wife is okay with me looking like him, as long as I am polite and give people the attention they want,” Schonasky says.
Though Schonasky—with his bright spiked hair, his goatee, and his shades—has fooled an entire restaurant of people, numerous festival goers, and at least one publication, it seems as if the Sussex salesperson and self-proclaimed “normal guy” just gets a kick out of being confused for a different Guy from time to time, and bringing a little taste of Flavortown to metro Milwaukee in the process.