Real Food Eatery: Reinventing Fast Casual in Philadelphia

As you’ve probably figured out by now, Taylor and I LOVE to cook. Most of the time, we are meal planning and prepping machines, but every so often, life gets in the way and we need to seek food elsewhere. When we’re in a pinch for a convenient meal on the go, we usually look for a healthier option—similar to what we would cook for ourselves. Sometimes, this can be easier said than done, which is why we’re SO excited to tell you guys about our favorite fast casual restaurant in Philly.

Real Food Eatery opened in July 2016 at 16th and Walnut in Center City, and they already have two new locations in the works, at 1700 Market & 4040 City Ave (eeeee!). So why do we love this place so much? Simply put, they serve REAL, delicious, whole, satisfying, and affordable FOOD. If you’re like us, loving food and striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle, what more could you ask for?!

Co-owners Mike Mangold and John Colasante created Real Food Eatery to solve a recurring problem they both experienced. They struggled to find a place they could walk to in Center City and enjoy a healthy, filling meal, made with high-quality ingredients, prepared in five minutes or less. So, they made one. Umm… cool.

At Real Food Eatery, they keep their ingredients simple, but their system keeps their [100% gluten-free!] menu complex. The basis of their menu revolves around a build-your-own method, where you choose a seared-to-order (how awesome is that?!) entree, a base, two sides—they have hot and cold side options—and a sauce on the side, all served on a plate or in a bowl (for optimal flavor mixing). With 5 entrées, 4 bases, 9 sides, and 4 sauces to choose from, there are endless creations you can make. And if you’re feeling indecisive or if this many menu options sounds overwhelming, no worries—they’ve created a few “signature” salads and grain bowls, which include some of their most popular menu items. Leave the decision making up to the experts and enjoy!

Taylor and I recently visited Real Food Eatery, and I’m embarrassed to admit that this was my first RFE experience. But since Taylor has always spoken highly of it, I was anxious to give it a try. I went the build-your-own plate route, with lemon herb chicken thighs as my entrée, mixed greens as my base, and balsamic beets with walnuts + goat cheese and sweet potato hummus with cucumber slices as my sides. I also went with their most popular sauce—sesame. There are no words for how impressed I was with this food, especially given how quickly it was delivered. In my experience, when you have so many different parts making up a meal, usually at least one part is “just okay”. Not at RFE. Every bite of my meal was to die for, even down to the sauce. The amount of food you get in one meal is truly satiating and affordable (~$10!!).

When you go (not if) you HAVE TO try the sweet potato hummus. It was SO good that when I ran out of cucumbers, I still ate the rest plain. #noshame Wow… drooling about it now just thinking about it.

Like Mike and John, we too advocate for the importance of simplicity in our own cooking, and even in our lifestyle philosophies. When you’re in RFE, you’ll notice simplicity even in the aesthetics of the space, which while simple, are extremely pleasing. All of their tables and chairs are made from reclaimed wood, their menus reside in a planter next to real plants, and their branding is beautiful. Well done, guys.

I’ve stopped typing this post several times to text different people and set up future visits to RFE. We know you’ll love Real Food Eatery as much as we do—a true heaven for the Philly. Fit. Foodie. 

P.S. Head to our Instagram (@phillyfitfoodies) today for details on a giveaway we’re hosting with Real Food Eatery, and enter for the chance to win a $30 gift card so you can try that dreamy sweet potato hummus for yourself!

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