Etérea might seem like a typical haunt in Manhattan's East Village. With scarlet booths and floral ceilings, it's social media friendly. And it stays true to its Mexican-American roots, even down to an all-agave bar that features tequila and mezcal cocktails.
But it's the menu that really sets Etérea apart.
"Not only are we a vegan Mexican restaurant, I also wanted to make the menu really accessible to people outside of veganism. And we're also gluten free," said Xila Caudillo, Etérea's executive chef.
A third generation Mexican-American, Caudillo drew inspiration for the menu from her own history.

"It was kind of like a passion project for me," she said.
And she said Mexican cuisine, which is full of beans, rice, potatoes, nopales, and corn, lends itself well to veganism. 
The restaurant does not feature fake meat on its menu but allows vegetables to shine in dishes like the hardy corn rib elotes, which are deep fried and coated with vegan aioli and parmesan. 
"Nature gives us so many colors on the palette as far as vegetables are concerned that we really try to focus in on being vegetable-forward and providing that for every plate. No Tofurkey here," Etérea General Manager Michael Louvaris said.
Etérea is part of Overthrow Hospitality, a restaurant group by restaurateur Ravi DeRossi. After suffering a crisis of conscience over animal cruelty, DeRossi, who has been vegan for much of his life, decided to pivot most of his restaurants to plant-based in 2015. That included now shuttered Mother of Pearl, a Polynesian tiki bar that opened with meat on the menu.
"Believe it or not, food sales doubled overnight. That line outside got bigger. More people wanted to come visit us," DeRossi said.
DeRossi prides himself on creating restaurants that don't feel stereotypically vegan.
"Ten, 15 years ago, if you went to a vegan restaurant, it was very obvious you were at a vegan restaurant, right? I don't think a lot of energy was put into the design and the build out and the flavor," he said. "Now we create these spaces that you walk into, and they don't feel like a vegan restaurant. The food doesn't taste like a vegan restaurant."
But for DeRossi, it's about much more than profits. He's passionate about animal rights and the environmental benefits of plant-based eating.
"Reading about the fact that factory farming was one of the leading causes of methane in our atmosphere, which is one of the leading causes of global warming and climate change — it just sort of solidified the fact that this was important to me," he said.
And he's not alone. The popularity of veganism is exploding. The plant-based food market is set to hit $74.2 billion by 2027, according to Meticulous Research, and challenges like Veganuary see more participants every year.
Veganuary, which is a mashup of the words "vegan" and "January" is a UK-based nonprofit that provides resources and support to encourage people to try veganism during the 31 days of January. In the years since its founding in 2014, the challenge spread to 15 different countries and attracted roughly two million participants, according to U.S. Director Wendy Matthews. This year is expected to be the biggest yet, with an estimated 625,000 people joining in on the pledge. According to surveys, 46 percent of UK-based participants join for animals, with 22 percent and 21 percent citing personal health and environmental reasons, respectively. In the U.S., 44 percent of participants are in it for their health. 
Registered Dietician Nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth said there are significant benefits to consuming more plants.
"Plant-based diets help you lower the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and overall mortality," she said. 
Vegans may have to work a little harder to ensure they're getting adequate levels of B12, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids into their diets. But Largeman-Roth said it's doable with some preparation.
"Make some of those overnight oats in advance. Cut up fruits and veggies so that you have them at the ready, because everybody knows that when we aren't prepared, that's when we grab the super unhealthy snacks," she said. "Because, remember, the benefit is really from eating the plants. It's not from eating, you know, non-dairy cheese doodles."
As the hype around veganism reaches a fever pitch, restaurants like Etérea are riding the wave. And DeRossi doesn't think it's dying down anytime soon.
Updated on February 1, 2022, at 6:14 p.m. ET with full writethrough and additional details.