Cooking food over an open flame can impart smoky flavor and seal in savory juices, but cooking food over an eternal flame can get a bobsledding team kicked out of the Olympics. Get your fill of flame-cooked fare with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of soul food at Mert’s Heart and Soul, located on North College Street.
Opened more than a decade ago by husband-and-wife team James and Reneé Bazzelle, Mert’s Heart and Soul dishes out home-cooked Southern, Low Country, and Gullah-inspired chow in a neighborly setting.
Lunch, served until 3 p.m., subdues midday cravings with crunchy southern fried-chicken breast ($7.25), fried catfish ($7.75), and the shrimp and grits with toasted foccacia ($7.89), each of which comes flanked with cornbread and rich honey butter.
Night predators can feast on dinners of grilled salmon soaked in creole sauce or blackened seasoning ($14.99), and shrimp creole sided with rice ($11.29), or direct their night-vision goggles toward the meaty barbecue beef rib and fried-chicken leg ($12.29) with a side of rich, creamy mac 'n' cheese ($2.35).
In addition to its warm, casual interior sided with caramel-colored walls and studded with old photos, Mert’s Heart and Soul extends a neighborly fork to the Charlotte metropolitan community through charity work with an array of nonprofit organizations focused on supporting causes such as literacy and health.
Mert’s Heart and Soul
A single word glows neon outside of Mert’s Heart and Soul: eat. The suggestion is hardly necessary. James Bazzelle and his wife Renee opened Mert's more than a decade ago, and in the years since, they've solidified their reputation as the neighborhood's spot for Southern, Low Country, and Gullah-inspired cuisine.
Fried chicken, collard greens, and shrimp and grits all make appearances in the restaurant's warm dining room, where old photos hang on caramel-colored walls. James, Renee, and their team also cook up brunch on the weekends—but the undisputed star of Mert's is the cornbread. Served hot, the bread's cake-like texture has earned it countless fans, television appearances, and potentially, its own late-night talk show.
The magic behind this bread—and the rest of the menu—comes from James' and Renee's willingness to experiment with classic recipes. Their cornbread turns extra fluffy because they add mayonnaise, for example, and their signature salmon cakes get their zest from homemade remoulade sauce.
214 N College St.
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202Get Directions