If you want to get to know her now, you should catch the clip of her appearance on Ted Allen’s Food Network show “Chopped” in 2010. Faced with the mystery ingredient – rattlesnake – she managed to turn out a Sicilian-inspired salad with capers, olives, pears and snake that judge Alex Guarnaschelli loved but got eliminated when she ran out of time and only prepared one plate instead of the three needed for all the judges.
“It was about making a decision with our hearts or making a decision with our heads,” Guarnaschelli said. “Your food was delicious, but a competition is a competition.” (Sollitto got to try again in a rematch in 2011, but was bested by trouble preparing lamb hearts.)
Sollitto, owner of the New York restaurant Siggy’s Good Food, has gotten her rezoning approved and is one track to open her new restaurant at 1001 Belmont Ave. early next summer. While her New York location, on Elizabeth Street in NoHo, is a full-service restaurant, her Charlotte location will be smaller at 1,500 square feet, she says, with counter service and a rooftop lounge area. She calls the menu “comfort food with an organic twist” and says her plan here is to be “a wonderful cafe.”
It will open in May “if I can push myself,” she says. “But realistically, June.”
Sollitto, born in Israel, specializes in organic and locally sourced food with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean twists. She’s been in New York for 24 years, first opening in 2005 on Henry Street in Brooklyn. That location closed in 2015, but she continued with the Manhattan location. After her sister moved to Charlotte and started a family, she visited here and fell in love with Charlotte and with the Belmont neighborhood.
“It feels like a village,” she says. “The sidewalks are small.” While she plans to keep her New York restaurant open as long as she can, she plans to move to Charlotte full time.
“The New York is not great for small business,” she says. “Charlotte is a good city to be in.”
This story first ran at CharlotteObserver.com.
Photo: Siggy Sollitto