During the long period that Charlie Trotter has been closing and unclosing and selling off and unselling off his namesake restaurant, commenters have danced around what is perhaps the main reason nobody’s jumped up to buy the place: By the end it was seriously dated. The white painted wood and jewel tones screamed 80s, the era of Nancy Reagan, Leona Helmsley, and Donald Trump, back when his name came preceded by “short-fingered vulgarian.”

Michael Kornick came up through restaurants like Gordon at the same time as Trotter, but he didn’t manage to open his own fine-dining restaurant, MK, until a decade later, in 1998. As a result, MK’s clean, minimalist loft space—in a former paint factory with a two-story-plus ceiling—hasn’t aged in the same way. Like Blackbird, it looks more like the model dozens of today’s restaurants riffed on.

But Kornick and his wife, Lisa, wanted to change it up anyway.