Charlotte’s Best Soul Food Restaurants To Visit

Charlotte, North Carolina, is a city known for its Southern hospitality and, with that, its delicious food.

waffles and chicken at charlotte soul food restaurants

And when it comes to soul food, Charlotte definitely does not disappoint.

Soul food originates back to the days of slavery when African Americans would make do with whatever scraps they could get.

Over time, this cuisine has evolved into a delicious and unique way of cooking that is now enjoyed by people from various backgrounds worldwide.

If you’re in the mood for some good old soul food, don’t hesitate to try one of the restaurants on this list.

Here are some of the best soul food restaurants in Charlotte.

Mert’s Heart & Soul

214 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: 704-342-4222
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Mert’s Heart and Soul is a cozy, colorful, family-run establishment in Charlotte Center City near Mint Museum Uptown.

It was featured on the show Diners, Driver-Ins, and Dives — for good reasons.

This mom-and-pop soul food joint has an array of delicious, classic eats like cornbread, shrimp & grits, and southern fried chicken.

They also have Creole-inspired cuisine, such as shrimp Creole with rice.

My favorite menu items include blackened pork chops, macaroni & cheese, and unique salmon burgers.

I also appreciate their dessert offerings, from red velvet cake to peach cobbler — yum!

Nana Morrison’s Soul Food

2908 Oak Lake Blvd Suite #106, Charlotte, NC 28208
Phone: 704-357-3700
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Nana Morrison’s Soul Food is a popular yet very casual restaurant in a strip mall in the Eagle lake area, near Renaissance Park.

This soul food restaurant has incredible food with lots of different choices, making it a fantastic spot for a group because everyone will surely find something they love.

I especially enjoy their smothered pork chops, which is perhaps my favorite thing to order here.

But they also have tasty baked chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, and a curry chicken plate that’s to die for.

Nana Morrisons’ Soul Food is close to the airport, so this is a great meal to grab before heading for your flight or after landing.

Blessed By The Best

1113 Pegram St, Charlotte, NC 28205

If you’re looking for a quick, casual spot with styrofoam to-go boxes that they’ll load to the brim, look no further than Blessed By The Best.

This small restaurant and catering company, located in the Belmont neighborhood near Phifer Heights, has a combination of American soul food and Caribbean-inspired eats, all so tasty and filling.

You can get oxtails, jerk chicken, curry shrimp, collard green, yams, black-eyed peas, and much more. My favorite items include green beans and rice with gravy.

But sometimes I stick with a classic meal and order chicken legs with fries.

Londa’s Place

3635 Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd, Charlotte, NC 28214
Phone: 980-299-6461
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Londa’s Place is a great, no-frills spot in northeast Charlotte near Eastfield.

The restaurant is nothing fancy, but the food is solid, and they give you a lot for your money.

The menu has all of your classic southern comfort food staples, like fried chicken, oxtails, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, green beans, and more.

I always get fried chicken because it’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the portion size is huge.

I also love their cornbread — it’s moist and sweet and goes so well with honey butter.

VelTree – Vegan SoulFood

14825 Ballantyne Village Way Suite 150, Charlotte, NC 28277
Phone: 980-355-0075

If you’re looking for some delicious vegan soul food in Charlotte, look no further than VelTree.

This restaurant, located in Ballantyne Village near Sara’s YMCA, has a tasty and creative vegan spin on classic southern comfort food.

You can build your own plates, which adds to the relaxed atmosphere and makes it perfect for groups, or you can order from their menu of unique dishes.

My favorite items are the crab cakes, cajun shrimp, collard greens, and buffalo mushroom bites — all of which are plant-based and still so tasty!

Make sure to try the kale ginger lemonade, too — it might sound a bit too “healthy” for some people’s tastes, but it is truly so yummy.

The King’s Kitchen

129 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: 704-375-1990
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The King’s Kitchen is one of the best soul food restaurants in Charlotte for giving back.

This nonprofit southern restaurant is in Charlotte Center City near Romare Bearden Park.

They not only serve delicious southern fare but also give back to the community and assist the homeless.

I enjoy many items at this restaurant, but I especially love their black eyes peas, butter beans, creamed corn, shrimp and & grits, and delectable pot roast.

They also include dishes you may not expect from a more casual southern restaurant, like scallops, fried oysters, and deviled eggs.

It’s a faith-based restaurant, but there is still a bar if you’d like a nice drink along with your fried chicken.

Mr Charles Chicken & Fish

Multiple locations
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There are two locations for Mr Charles Chicken & Fish, but the one I do is on Statesville Ave, closer to the city center near NODA.

Mr Charles Chicken & Fish serves what its name implies — chicken and fish — and serves them well.

I love getting my fix of fried chicken and fish platters, as well as a variety of southern sides like collard greens, fried mushrooms, and broccoli casserole.

I think their ultimate best menu item is the gizzards, especially because it’s more challenging to find them elsewhere.

If you’re not feeling fried fish or chicken, they also have a list of sandwiches and burgers you can choose from, such as a Philly cheesesteak or a turkey burger.


516 N Graham St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: 704-503-9629

Freshwaters is a homey, classic soul food restaurant that simultaneously feels both spacious and intimate.

This spot is located in the Fourth Ward area near Charlotte’s Oldest House.

They offer a huge menu of seafood, chicken dishes, southern side dishes, beef/pork eats, and appetizers.

I like getting the catfish strips as an appetizer to share with the table, ordering either the blackened catfish or blackened salmon for myself, then finishing my meal with a coconut cake.

Of course, you’ll have the option of getting sides with your entree, and I highly recommend trying their candied yams!

“E” K. & T. Catering LLC

11417 Silverfield Ln, Charlotte, NC 28215
Phone: 704-578-5996

Mama. “E” K. & T. is a catering company specializing in southern and soul food cuisine.

Their catering service includes setting up, serving, and cleaning up afterward, so you won’t have to worry about a single thing if you use them for your special event.

It’s an excellent option for big events like weddings and anniversaries.

Still, in all honesty, it’s also a wonderful idea to use them for a more casual backyard barbecue or kid’s birthday party when no one wants to cook that day (or to supplement your cooking).

In addition to the food here, the service is very professional and friendly as well.

You won’t be disappointed.

Ruthie’s of Charlotte

Multiple locations
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Ruthie’s of Charlotte is a clean, casual, no-frills soul food spot in the Henderson Circle area near BBT Fitness.

I frequent this restaurant when I want a quick, reliable, stacked styrofoam box of food-to-go.

You can’t go wrong with the meatloaf with mac & cheese and potato salad on the side.

Other times, I order pork chops with yams and collard greens on the side.

But perhaps the absolute best thing to eat here is the chicken and waffles.

I don’t order it much because I tend to load it up with lots of syrup, and I don’t get any veggies on the side, so it’s not a healthy meal to eat too often.

But if you want to treat yourself, don’t hesitate to order Ruthie’s chicken and waffles — you won’t regret it!

Queen’s Soul Food.

7308 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28227
Phone: 704-563-1106
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Queen’s Soul Food, near McAlpine Creek Park in East Forest, is an easygoing soul food joint that serves soul food in a cafeteria-style manner.

I love cafeteria-style eating because it’s quick, and I can get what I want without waiting for someone to take my order and then bring me my food.

Queens’ Soul Food is best known for its country-fried chicken, which is delicious, but they have many other mouthwatering chicken choices as well, including baked chicken, curry chicken, and jerk chicken.

Besides the chicken, you’ll find many southern staples like pork chops, mac & cheese, catfish, potato salad, and crispy fried okra.

Sandra Lee’s Country Kitchen

3321 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
Phone: 704-891-1265
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Sandra Lee’s Country Kitchen, near Enderly Park, is a low-key food truck with some of the tastiest fried okra I’ve ever had — and I love fried okra!

They offer plenty of southern-style eats made with love and probably lots of butter too.

I tend to order their chicken wing dinner, which comes with two sides and cornbread.

They also have fried chicken, fried pork, shrimp, salmon, and hamburgers.

For my two sides, I tend to go with collard greens and country-baked beans at Sandra’s, but you can’t go wrong with any of your favorite classic choices.

Cuzzo’s Cuisine

3418 Tuckaseegee Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208
Phone: 980-298-6811
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Cuzzo’s Cuisine is a casual fast food joint near Martin Luther King Jr Park in Smallwood.

They have a sit-in restaurant with indoor and some outdoor seating.

But they also have a food truck they’ll take to local events, which is how I first tried Cuzzo’s.

Cuzzo’s Cuisine is best known for its incredible lobster mac and cheese, which is not for the faint-hearted nor the lactose-intolerant, as it is loaded with creamy, mouthwatering cheese.

They also have tasty chicken & waffles, lemon pepper wings, shrimp & grits, and cactus pear.

Chicken Box Cafe

1331 W Sugar Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262
Phone: 704-921-8102
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Chicken Box Cafe, near UNCC in the University area, is a no-frills hole-in-the-wall type place with incredible soul food.

Chicken Box Cafe has all of the classics like chicken wings, fried chicken, pork chops, mac & cheese, collard greens, yams, and green beans.

But they also have unique items like seafood sandwiches and gizzards.

I love the laid-back feel of the place, which makes it a fun spot to get together with friends and eat to your heart’s desire.

Soul Central

2903 Central Ave C, Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: 980-349-4015

Last on the list is Soul Central, located on Central Ave near the Country Club Heights.

This spot is another unfussy soul food option with plenty of fried and baked mains and sides.

I appreciate that they have flounder here, which isn’t always easy to find at a soul food restaurant.

I also like that they have baked options for those looking to eat a little healthier and plenty of veggie options to make a delicious 4-side veggie plate.

Charlotte is a hub for business, finance, and education.

It’s also the home of the Carolina Panthers.

But whether you’re visiting town for a game, studying at UNC-Charlotte, or working in town, you would be remiss not to try one of the soul food restaurants mentioned above.

There is a lot of variety among them, but all of the best soul food restaurants in Charlotte have one thing in common: you’ll leave full!

When the weather is nice here in Charlotte, here are some wonderful places to eat outdoors!

Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll make sure to check them out!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.