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Pink Salt’s sign went up on West McGraw Street on Friday, the Peruvian-inspired restaurant expecting to open softly in Magnolia next week.

Corino Bonjrada had admired the old Magnolia’s Restaurant space for years. His nearby Mondello Ristorante Italiano will celebrate 14 years in Magnolia Village in July.

“He’s loved that space since I met him,” said Bonjrada’s wife, Ana Sofia Ponce de Leon, recalling how often he would mention it when they drove by.

“I think this is one of the best restaurant spaces in Magnolia,” Bonjrada said.

Ponce de Leon hails from Peru, and played a large part in inspiring the culinary concept, with Seattle lacking in Peruvian restaurants.

“I’ve been here in Seattle for 12 years,” she said. “From day one, I was looking for Peruvian.”

She was looking to kill time in Capitol Hill while she waited for traffic to die down when she met Bonjrada, walking into his Pizzeria 88 shop on Broadway.

“I walked into the pizzeria and fell in love,” Ponce de Leon said.

The old Magnolia’s Restaurant space went on the market after members of the Mandapati family that operated it were involved in a serious vehicular collision and needed more time to recover from their injuries.

“Actually, I was going to help them and see if I could find someone to help them,” Bonjrada said, but then the space at 3321 W. McGraw St. went up for sale.

Bonjrada and Ponce de Leon took over the space in February and began the long process of turning it into Pink Salt.

Pink Salt will be manned by three chefs, two from Peru, and one American, he said.

His Magnolia neighbors encouraged him to take over the restaurant, he said, and curiosity about what has been going on inside since work began has meant frequently keeping the door locked.

“I’ve been a part of this neighborhood for 20 years, and I love it,” Bonjrada said.

And the restaurateur believes people coming into Pink Salt will love the charcoal-grilled meats and Northwest seafood they’ll be able to see being prepared in the restaurant’s open kitchen, complemented by Peruvian sauces.

Ponce de Leon is excited about the offerings of ceviche, smoked fish and lomo saltado.

“It’s a Peruvian version of steak-and-potatoes, and it’s delicious,” she said.

Bonjrada said he and his wife were in a store in Portland that had a pink salt wall, and he liked it so much that he wanted to find a way to work it into the new restaurant. He found the link in Cusco, near Machu Picchu, where the pink salt ponds of Maras provide Peruvian chefs with the staple seasoning.

The mineral has a starring role all over the restaurant, from ornate rocks in bowls to its pink salt candleholders.

What stands out most is the illuminated pink salt bar wall. Ponce de Leon said they recently held a private event there to celebrate a friend’s birthday, where the wall had a chance to shine.

“It’s this beautiful glow that just made her feel good all night,” she said.

The bar lounge has a mix of pink and blue chairs, and a long blue couch.

Pink salt is used in some of the cooking, Bonjrada said, including a pink salt ice cream on the dessert menu.

Pink Salt will open for dinner, with a weekend brunch, to start.

“It’s a mix,” Bonjrada said of the brunch. “It’s going to have some Peruvian flavor.”

Find out more at pinksaltseattle.com (Under construction).