A decade after graduation from Camden Catholic High, Mike Mangold and John Colasante met up one night. Colasante was working at a legal-technology company, while Mangold had created a successful landscaping business. The conversation turned to health and nutrition, and finding tasty, healthful food.

"Modern eating has gotten us in trouble," said Colasante, 31, whose stepfather, David Egan, is a fitness coach.

Last week saw the opening of Real Food Eatery (207 S. 16th St.), filling a storefront just south of Walnut Street that previously housed The Lite Choice.

Real Food Eatery - which serves bowls and platters based on seared-to-order proteins - joins a parade of fast-casual cafes that make at least a passing nod to health and/or freshness, including Sweetgreen, Hai Street Kitchen, Honeygrow, Farmer's Keep, and HipCityVeg. Real Food Eatery's platter-based approach is most closely in line with Herban Quality Eats in University City.

It's also real food - as in substantive. For a "real plate," you choose a base (greens or a grain) and a protein (such as chicken thighs, skirt steak, pork shoulder, salmon, or roasted portobello mushroom). You also choose two sides (maybe quinoa salad, roasted broccoli, or roasted carrot fries. Total is $8.75 for the portobello to $12.50 for salmon.

You can also order a veggie bowl ($7.50), berry salad ($8.25), or Cobb caesar salad ($8.25).

Last week, I tried a "real plate" of chicken thighs (prepared with lemon zest, garlic, parsley, chives, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper) over jasmine rice, while choosing kale slaw (chopped red cabbage and kale, feta, olive oil, onion, lemon juice, oregano, and parsley) and sweet potato hummus (served with cucumber slices). Quite tasty and filling, and it was an excellent value at $9.25.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.