Shrimp creole with a side of cornbread at Mert’s Heart & Soul.

Soul food can be difficult to find when you are not home, which may be the case this week for CIAA fans.

But don’t despair. Here is a list of restaurants that have proven to be popular with residents and visitors to Charlotte.

Mert’s Heart & Soul, 214 N College St.:

This restaurant is famously known for being featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” a popular show on the Food Network. Mert’s Heart & Soul made its mark with the fan favorite Soul Roll. The Soul Roll includes pre-cooked collard greens, black eye peas, rice and chicken, all mixed up and wrapped in dough. Each roll is fried until golden.

Customers say it’s a “must-try.” Mert’s also features fried chicken and low country classics. The space is very casual and full of vivid color schemes with local art on display. For more information, visit or call 704-342-4222.

Nana’s Soul Food Kitchen, Shops at Lake Pointe, 2908 Oak Lake Blvd. #106:

Nana’s is a Morrison family-owned business known for its buffets. Popular items include baked, fried or BBQ chicken; fried catfish and fried pork shop. Visit or call  704-357-3700.

La’Wan’s Soul Food Restaurant, 7520 S. Tryon St., Suite 18:

La’Wan’s is owned by the Adams family and is known for its mac and cheese. This restaurant placed first at Homearama 2005 and received the Best Southern Cooking award – AOL 2005 and a Steve Harvey Hoodie award.

When asked to describe La’Wan’s food, customer and CIAA participant Michale Berry dubbed it: “real Southern soul food that is cooked RIGHT.”   Visit or call 704-665-7225.

Kenisha Wilson a Senior Public Relations major at N.C. A&T State University.