Connie’s Pizzeria Will Take Over a Whole Floor Above Heartbreaker

Photo by: Tash Sorensen

It’s almost midnight, you’ve been drinking for hours and you need a pick me up. You find your way to the corner of Lonsdale and Russell Streets, to everyone’s favourite late-night digs; Heartbreaker. You go inside, you order a drink—probably a gin&soda or a beer—you follow the heaving rock ‘n’ roll music all the way past the pool table and to the pizza shop hole-in-the-wall, Connie’s Pizzeria. Finally, you sit down in the corner booth, with your massive slice of deliciously greasy pepperoni and your drink and you are oh so content. This is the life, you think.

But imagine if Connie’s Pizzeria was more than just a hole-in-the-wall. Imagine if it was a whole goddamn venue.

Well, you won’t have to imagine for too long… because it’s coming IRL.

Melbourne’s favourite late-night pizza hole-in-the-wall, Connie’s Pizzeria has just announced that it will be slinging its famous pizzas and more, from a new and larger home in the space above Heartbreaker, from January 2022.

Named after owner Michael Madrusan’s beloved Nonna Connie, the New York-inspired slice joint launched in 2017 within Made in the Shade’s iconic rock ‘n’ roll dive bar, Heartbreaker.

Michael grew up in Italian restaurants run by his grandparents and parents in the ’80s, and now, he and Zara intend to homage to those eateries with Connie’s new space.

Their vision: to create a venue all about delicious pizza, great Italian hospitality, and a little bit of nostalgia.

“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 co-owner Zara.

Michael and Zara. Photo: Pete Dillon

“Michael and I have had our eyes on the space for some time and when it came available, we jumped at the opportunity and immediately started working on the new concept.”

Seating more than 70 guests, the dining room features crimson red vinyl booths, checked tablecloths, leadlight pendants and iconic 80s film posters.

Over at the bar, diners can select songs from the jukebox, enjoy a game of pool and/or dance underneath the disco balls.

The adjoining rooftop deck has room for up to 30 guests and overlooks Lonsdale Street—the perfect location to enjoy a drink in the sunshine or sausage ‘n’ peppers served straight from the BBQ on weekends.

“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.”

The drinks list will champion Made in the Shade’s dedication to fine drinking with classic and sparkling cocktails from The Everleigh Bottling Co., wines from Bar Margaux, and select bottled and tap beers.

Set to a soundtrack of Soul and Motown earlier in the evening and funk and disco later in the night, Connie’s is the destination for catching up with mates after work for dinner, enjoying a cocktail on the rooftop deck or dancing the night away.

The new Connie’s Pizzeria is set to open in mid-late January 2022, so get your party shoes ready.

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