Heartbreaker Connie’s CBD Pizzeria Becomes a Full-Fledged Italian Restaurant

Connie’s, the pizza showcase at Heartbreaker CBD bar, revealed to Good Food that it was taking off in January, becoming a fully realized Italian bar and restaurant on one floor of its current home on the corner of Lonsdale and Russell streets.

Owners Michael and Zara Madrusan (The Everleigh, Bar Margaux) say the new Connie’s will combine the fun of Heartbreaker with a healthy dose of Italian-Australian nostalgia, based on the childhood of Michael who grew up in his family’s restaurants in the 1980s.

Look for checkered tablecloths, lead-light pendant lights, and dishes such as garlic bread and eggplant parmigiana. Connie’s New York-style round and square pizzas are a nod to Michael’s time in Manhattan, as are baked clams and ziti.

Michael and Zara Madrusan will channel some of Michael’s best memories from his family’s Italian restaurants to the new venue. Photo: Pete Dillon

“It’s time to break the chains,” said Michael, who planned much of the venue with Zara during the lockdown. “This is by no means a serious place.”

A jukebox loaded with soul and disco, a dance floor and a pool table are in reserve for the burgundy red room, which will be able to accommodate 70, plus 30 others on the rooftop terrace equipped with a grill.

Bottles and taps will ship Paloma cocktails, negronis and more blended by The Everleigh, while Italian sparkling wines and other varieties are in the hands of Bar Margaux sommelier Tom Smith.

Connie's line of square pizzas launched during the lockdown is moving to the new location.

Connie’s line of square pizzas launched during the lockdown is moving to the new location. Photo: Supplied

Named after Michael’s grandmother, Connie, who taught him how to make pizza, the place will be almost like a time machine, he says.

The pair will bring it to life with fluted red leather cabins, a four-meter aquarium and wall projections inside, while outside it will be bench seats around the deck to get the most out of it. party from the plane tree canopy of Lonsdale Street. The plan is to serve grilled peppers and sausages on crispy buns on weekends in the summer.

He even sources in Sydney, Mr Pisa’s hand-made frozen treats that his grandparents served at their Newcastle restaurant, appearing here in flavors such as Passion Fruit, Baci and Ice Cream. lemon, served in a lemon, and parquet wood bowls that will trigger memories for anyone who was alive in the 80s.

New York-style pizza and baked clams are fused with dishes from Italian-Australian restaurants Michael Madrusan's ...

New York-style pizza and baked clams are fused with dishes from the Italian-Australian restaurants that Michael Madrusan’s family owned as a child. Photo: Tash Sorensen

He and Zara are excited to give Connie’s their own space, especially on this site, which they tried to buy many years ago. After former tenant Seoul House closed earlier this year, the stars have aligned.

“He’s got really good bones; he’s always had potential.”

Level 1, 234B Russell Street, Melbourne, conniespizza.com.au

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