Siggy’s for the Soul

Guest post by Carly Elson

If you’re a social person and you live in New York City then “where should we eat?” becomes a central question in your day-to-day life. Anywhere else, such a question would evoke a practical answer—whatever is decent and nearby. But here, the answer is the average of countless variables—the “vibe”, the clientele, the rating (Zagats and the health department), to name a few. New Yorkers follow foodie blogs, reserve early, and amass long lists of places that we “have to” try this year. And after we visit one, we move on to the next. We’re restaurant hobbyists. But once in a while we stumble on a place that feels different—that gets us—and we find ourselves coming back, day in and day out, again and again.

RELATED: Siggy’s Good Food Will Close on March 1

For me, that restaurant is Siggy’s Good Food in Brooklyn Heights. (It also has a Manhattan location). When I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights nearly six years ago, it was a time of transition in my life. I was going from living with two friends in midtown Manhattan to living with my boyfriend of nine months in an unfamiliar and significantly quieter (what if no one visits me here!) part of town. All I knew about Brooklyn Heights was that when I entered the subway after work at the hustle and bustle that is 59th and Lex and emerged at High Street / Cadman Plaza West, all the day’s burdens instantly lifted from my being. Walking down the brownstone-laden streets under breezy tree cover, I was sublimely happy.

Carly and her fiancé David pose at the entrance of Siggy's during their engagement photo shoot in 2011. Photo Credit: LaVie Photography

Carly and her fiancé David pose at the entrance of Siggy’s during their engagement photo shoot in 2011.
Photo Credit: LaVie Photography

I was also relatively isolated. I didn’t have a Brooklyn social circle and informal encounters with a familiar, friendly face were virtually nonexistent. I was looking for something to make Brooklyn Heights home. Then I discovered Siggy’s; a small, quirky restaurant just a short block away that proclaimed in all its signage that “aliens eat for free.” By my first salmon burger, I was hooked. I started coming back daily for dinner and on the weekends for brunch, sometimes both in one day. The staff was friendly and eager to help. Soon, everyone knew my name. They started memorizing my favorite fruit smoothies (first it was Berry Buzz, then Spa Skin Secret, Protein Energizer and recently, the Green Alien Quencher) and additions to specific meals (“extra avocado on the salmon burger” and “two sides of turkey bacon directly on top of the Live Earth salad”).

When my friends started coming to visit me in my new hood, I took them to Siggy’s. In my recent call log, Siggy’s had an esteemed spot at the top of the list, just below my mom. I introduced my parents to Siggy herself—a burst of energy and commitment to her cause: to create delicious, healthy meals that were good for her customers and good for the world. I was proud to bring people to Siggy’s, proud that such an institution was in my neighborhood. Siggy’s was more than the sum of its delicious, organic food and seasonal menu—it was the embodiment of a world where people could live in harmony with their food, rather than in fear of how it could harm them. In a time of processed food, antibiotics and “food science” convenience snacks, Siggy’s was a shining star for fresh, sustainable eating.

It was (and is) the best restaurant in the neighborhood.

Which is why I was so sad when I found out that it was closing. It’s a huge loss to Brooklyn Heights. Neighborhoods go through transition. Movie theaters close. Condos go up. It’s the changing of the tides. I get it. But this was different. This is different. This was a woman who founded a restaurant as a labor of love, to serve a higher good. Not because it was easy (clearly it was not), but because it was her passion. It was our privilege.

Siggy’s Good Food provided nourishment for body, soul and planet. And for the new girl to the neighborhood—a warm welcome home.

Carly Elson is a marketing executive in NYC. She lives with her husband (the “boyfriend” from the piece) in Brooklyn Heights.

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  • Nancy Stone

    Siggys is closing? NO! Say it isn’t so. Someone. Please.

  • Corey

    I hope not either, I am pretty new to the hood and it’s by far my favorite restaurant. I eat here multiple times per week!

  • Heightsman

    Am I the only one that didn’t really like this place?

  • cmpizz

    That is awful news! Does anyone know what will be going in, in its place (if anything)?

  • Mini_Cooper

    Am I the only one who never heard of it? But then, I live at the other end of the Heights. How long has it been there?

  • Boerum Bill

    So sad! The sign says, “Aliens Eat Free.” Once Gabriel Byrne told the cashier that he’s a naturalized alien. Didn’t work. HAHA!!

  • MonroeOrange

    surprising as their outdoor seating was buzzing all spring and summer….must not be a money issue, wonder what the cause was.

  • Michael Rock

    Love this place. Sad to see it go. Anyone have more info?

  • Seriously guys?

    poverty, genocide, and (completely avoidable) disease outbreaks… a
    small restaurant closing in brooklyn heights is totally like legit

  • johnny cakes

    How do you prove that you are an “alien”? What is an alien? How would you prove that you are from outer space? Maybe too many people were eating for free? Just say’in.

  • Roberto Gautier

    Yes, the closing of a local restaurant can be traumatic. So is the running of any restaurant. Siggy, a one-woman band, has provided the vision and blood for eateries in two boroughs. She even found time to compete on “Chopped,”the t.v. food competition. She is also Mediterranean. Siggy may be tired. Wouldn’t you be? Fill in the blanks on that point, if you wish. The “bureaucratic” reason for closing is only something that Siggy might choose to explain. Imagine the cat’s away, the mice will play staff management element to the saga. Siggy counldn’t be in two places at one time. Then, on the cultural analysis level, why are we so bummed out by the closing of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, Connecticut Muffin, Siggy’s and the change of ownership of Pete’s Ale House? Those were essential parts of the piazza for our neighborhood. Now, they’re gone. Plus, in a culture of carry-out, people in this area don’t cook much at home, nor do most people know how to shop or even have time to do so. Those things might explain why Siggy’s passing is mourned.

  • ColumbiaHeightster

    “It was our privilege.” Perfectly said.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    And what are you doing to save the world, oh serious and sanctimonious one?

  • Arch Stanton

    No, you’re not the only one. While I thought the food was okay, ther was something about the vibe of the place that wasn’t very appealing.

  • BGal

    Wow, you’re a jerk.

  • BGal

    Well said! These places are the nabe. And the people that run them and work at them become part of many of out lives. I am sad about any place that closes that’s been in the nabe for ages, because even if I didn’t go there, many did. Am sorry for Siggy, and miss Waterfront Ale House big time!

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Pay no mind; just flag it. Sounds like a student.

  • Carly

    Thank you.

  • Heightsman

    Check out Gothamist comments section on the closing….more accurate.

  • Katherine

    Always hated this place. When it first opened we used to order take out pretty often. After getting the third delivery of a Turkey burger with ketchup smeared all over it–and specifically asking that they not put ketchup on the burger, I got up, got dressed and went to return the burger. Well, the owner “Siggy” was there. She asked me why I was returning the food and I told her. Her reply? “Everybody like ketchup! You only one no like ketchup!” I was stunned. She was arguing with me. “But I asked you not to put ketchup on my burger….” “You only one! Ketchup good!”she barked back at me. What a vulgarian. She was so vulgar, so rude. On another occasion, I was in Siggy’s getting a smoothie. Her bread vendor came in to collect payment. “I no have $700! I give you $100!” she barked at him. So, Siggy was a real operator. Not a nice person, and a bad business woman to boot. Siggy get what Siggy deserve. Good riddance.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    I haven’t eaten here in a few years, but there’s something to be said for a place where I could eat my plate of eggs while my vegan friend enjoyed the tofu scramble. And I must say, the eggs, the toast, the coffee, and the side greens were *all* just right. Seems like it should be simple, and yet…