It was 2017 when Michael Madrusan opened Connie’s Pizza – a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria dedicated to (and named after) his beloved nonnina – inside his rowdy Russell Street bar, Heartbreaker. “I wanted it to be my great ode to [her],” he told Broadsheet at the time.
Madrusan – who also owns the Everleigh and Bar Margaux with his wife, Zara – has since been serving stomping 18-inch, New York-style pizzas that are “big, easy and cheesy” (and available whole or by the slice).
Now the team has also launched a new takeaway menu of “grandma pies”, taking inspiration from the square, home-style pizzas that originated in New York. These deep-dish pies have crusts that are crispy, chewy and under no circumstances to be left uneaten.
Closest to Detroit-style pizza, grandma pies aren’t new to Melbourne; Carlton’s Italo-American joint Capitano does an excellent version. But they’re not as ubiquitous as, say, the crisp-on-the-edges, pliant-in-the-middle Neapolitan.
At Connie’s, there are seven pies to choose from – all slathered with San Marzano tomato sugo, or “grandma sauce”. That includes the fail-safe three-cheese; the classic pepperoni; and the Artichoke, an homage to the NYC pizzeria of the same name. The Don’t Tell Nonna is a little more controversial, with smoked gypsy ham, plus pineapple and jalapenos – two toppings many nonnas would consider sacrilegious.
The grandma pies cost $26 to $34 each. Order delivery online from Thursday to Saturday.