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Dec 8, 2008 09:35 AM

Group from NW Looking for Good Southern Food in Charlotte

We are a group of 12 teachers from Portland, Oregon who will be traveling to Charlotte this week for a conference. We would love to dine on good Southern food. Have consulted a few postings, but would really love to hear from the locals. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

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  1. That's a pretty broad category - what do you mean by southern food? All around, I would have to say Mert's Heart & Soul is probably the best option and it is also conveniently downtown, which is where I would guess you will be for a conference.

    1 Reply
    1. re: friek

      Mert's Heart and Soul right in downtown Charlotte is also my go-to place for Southern home cookin' when we're in Charlotte. The complimentary cornbread they bring out piping hot from the oven is remarkably good.

      Mert's Heart & Soul
      214 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202

    2. DISH in Plaza Midwood is also good for southern style. Where else do you get a biscuit and half a deviled egg with every entree?? It is about 10 minutes from uptown.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Sam at Novas

        I second the recommendation of Dish, especially if it's dinner as opposed to lunch. If it's lunch, consider Simmons' 4th Ward on the outskirts of downtown on N. Graham Street. As for Mert's Heart & Soul, I like it, but most folks who grew up in the south and grew up on real southern/soul food consider it to be a Disneyland version of southern/soul food. I've heard some refer to it as "faux soul food." Again, I still do enjoy it, it's juust that many believe it's not the real thing. Out of all the southern/soul food places it probably has the best decor, though.

        1. re: ickymettle

          as much as I like it myself, I 100% agree with this statement.

          1. re: mikeh

            I like Merts too. The corn bread is fantastic.
            My favorite soul food place in Charlotte is La'Wans Soul Food Restaurant.
            Located on S. Tryon Street

            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

              I agree...La Wans....yummm pork chops, fried okra, and mac and cheese...good stuff!

              1. re: Hapy

                Looks like La'Wan's has a website:


                Great find. I'll be there next time I'm in Charlotte.

                1. re: mikeh

                  Thanks for the suggestions! I have visited the websites and forwarded menus to the group. I apologize for the request being so broad. Any thoughts on good BBQ?

                  1. re: Hollym

                    In short, there isn't any in the city - unless you're at my house ;)

                    1. re: Hollym

                      For diehard BBQ people that live and grew up with BBQ in North Carolina, there really isn't that much to choose from in Charlotte. Lexington which is about an hour away is the best place for BBQ. There are some local places that have decent BBQ, but when you've had the best it's kinda hard to go back to just okay BBQ.

                      Mac's on South Blvd, is okay. I say okay now, but I used to think it was great. That was before I went to Lexington. For someone not familiar with NC BBQ they may love this place. Others like Bubba's, Bill Spoon's, Old Hickory are okay, but I would personally pass on them. Mac's however is super crowded and service can sometimes not be so great. There are a lot of part-time bikers there (Lawyers that buy Harleys and think they're a biker) but this might be okay for a group of 15 except it will be hard to find a table that large in Mac's.

                      I've heard McCoy's has decent BBQ, but I haven't tried them yet. Any thoughts people?

                      1. re: tcamclt

                        Mac's will definitely be tough for a group of 12. But probably most places will be. Do they have heat lamps for the picnic tables in front?

                        Dish would work for 12 if you called ahead and ate in that back room.

                2. re: GodfatherofLunch

                  Never been to La' Wans, but after visiting their website it definitely is something I want to try. I'm a big fan of "Down to the Bone Soul Food" on N. Tryon in the University though.

                  Other soul food spots to try for the more hardcore are:

                  Floyd's, Coffee Cup, Simmon's 4th Ward, Chicken Box

                  But I agree with the others even though Mert's is more of your Disney Land like Southern Food, it is good and I enjoy it. The atmosphere is a lot nicer than the other I just mentioned, and is probably better for groups. Also if your hotel is Uptown you could probably walk there. It's a good safe bet kindda place for out of towners I think.

                  I also like the idea of Dish for dinner, they don't serve fried chicken, but they have chicken & dumplings and shrimp & grits. It's not to far from Uptown and would be a decent place for a group.

                  1. re: tcamclt

                    If you do make it out to Dish, the meatloaf is fantastic.

            2. re: Sam at Novas

              Before you get confused, downtown Charlotte is uptown to locals.

            3. Also if your more into an Upscale type of Southern you may want to check out these places.

              Savannah Red inside the Marriott Uptown on Trade & Tryon ( I can't vouch for them because I've never eaten there, but it does look good)

              Ratcliffe on Tryon, They specialize in Carolina farm to fork cuisine. (Again I've never been here, but I hear nothing but good things about this place.)