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FOOD & DRINK

Connie's Pizzeria Is Getting Its Own Dedicated Space Directly Above Heartbreaker

Hold onto your parmesan shaker, people — because Connie's new home will feature a rooftop deck along with its signature NYC pizzas.
By James Shackell
November 24, 2021
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By James Shackell
November 24, 2021
  shares

If you've ever stumbled down Russell Street at midnight searching for something cheesy, chances are you know Connie's: a nostalgic, pizza-shaped hole in the wall, operating from inside Heartbreaker, arguably the CBD's best rock-n-roll dive bar.  

Well, hold onto your parmesan shaker, because Connie's will be slinging its signature NYC-style pizzas from a brand new, much larger home above Heartbreaker from January next year. 

It's Connie's first dedicated space, and co-owners Michael Madrusan and his partner Zara, have ripped their playbook straight from the Italian American eateries of the 1980s, with warm hospitality, cheesy mozzarella sticks, and a generous slice of nostalgia. 

Image: Connie's co-owners Zara & Michael Madrusan. Photography by Pete Dillon.

"We had always planned for Connie's to evolve beyond Heartbreaker's four walls, into its own restaurant, but the right location had never presented itself," says Zara. "Michael and I have had our eyes on the space for some time and when it became available, we jumped at the opportunity and immediately started working on the new concept."

The new concept is this: crimson vinyl booths, seating for over 70 patrons, leadlight pendants dangling from the ceiling and '80s Italian film posters plastered on the walls. There's a jukebox in the corner, a pool table ready to roll, and several revolving disco balls (because it wouldn't be the 1980s a double dose of kitsch). The new Connie's will also feature a rooftop deck overlooking Lonsdale St, with room for another 30 hungry diners.

"I have so many great memories of my younger years spent at my family's Italian restaurants. I wanted the new Connie's to showcase the best traits of old school family-run pizzerias," says co-owner Michael. "It will be fun, familiar food and a really good time. Our venues are known for the theatre and attention to detail. With Connie's, the music will play a huge role in bringing the experience to life."

Image: Connie's Grandma Pies which ran as a lockdown special.

Cooked to a soundtrack of Soul and Motown classics, pizza will still be the star of the show. The new Connie's menu revolves around their signature deep dish and classic NYC 18-inch pizzas, but Michael is also running pasta, eggplant parmigiana, baked clams, mozzarella sticks, cheesy garlic bread and retro gelato desserts (courtesy of Mr Pisa). It's the closest you're going to get to 1980s Little Italy in Melbourne. 

Connie's new pizzeria is set to open in mid-to-late January 2022 at upstairs, 234B Russell Street, Melbourne, directly above Heartbreaker. It will be open from 5pm until late, Wednesday—Saturday.

Published on November 24, 2021 by James Shackell

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