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Connie's Pizza Is Taking Over the Space Upstairs and Will Be Reborn as a 100-Seat Italian Diner

Heartbreaker's legendary hole-in-the-wall pizza joint is getting a new incarnation as a modern trattoria and leafy rooftop terrace.
By Libby Curran
April 12, 2022
By Libby Curran
April 12, 2022

Connie's holds a place in every Melbourne night owl's heart, having spent the last five years slinging New York-style pizza until the wee hours from its hole-in-the-wall kitchen within Heartbreaker. Well now, our girl is moving on up, expanding into the space one level above her rock 'n' roll sibling, to gift us with Connie's Italian Diner & Rooftop Terrazza.

Set to debut on Thursday, April 21, Made in the Shade Group's (The Everleigh, Bar Margaux) new incarnation of Connie's will take the form of a contemporary trattoria built on that classic Italian spirit of hospitality.

It comes complete with tables draped in red-and-white checks, banquettes of red vinyl and walls adorned with vintage film posters. You'll spy a kitschy tank filled with tropical fish and a projector screen playing black-and-white Italian sitcoms.

Like its pint-sized predecessor, the 100-seater takes name and inspiration from owner Michael Madrusan's beloved Nonna Connie. Here, that translates to a menu of traditional-leaning fare, which nods to Madrusan's memories growing up in his family's own Italian eateries.

Helping to bring the vision to life is Head Chef Matteo D'Elia, who lists stints at Michelin Starred London restaurants Galvin at Windows and Bibendum on his resume.

Expect to find yourself digging into classics like eggplant parmigiana, veal tonnato, lobster linguine and the now legendary Connie's 'Grandma Pies', while framed pictures of pop culture icons gaze on from the walls. There'll be a Sunday ragu, served family-style, and a tiramisu reimagined in ice cream sundae form.

Meanwhile, the 'Terrazza' part of the new name references an adjoining leafy rooftop terrace, serving a weekend al fresco barbecue menu alongside Connie's usual a la carte lineup. Out here, you'll be able to match after-work aperitivo sessions with festoon lighting and city views.

In true Made in the Shade form, the drinks offering is set to be a banger, with a range of top-notch classic sips and sparkling cocktails poured on tap or served by the bottle. A lineup of Italian vino comes courtesy of Bar Margaux sommelier Tom Smith.

There's even a dance floor with a glittering disco ball for anyone looking to extend the Connie's fun post-dinner — a move that's set to be heavily encouraged.

Find Connie's Italian Diner & Rooftop Terrazza upstairs at 234B Russell Street, Melbourne (above Heartbreaker), from April 21. It'll open from 5pm–late, Wednesday–Saturday.

Published on April 12, 2022 by Libby Curran
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