Lockbox is committed to sourcing local, high-quality ingredients around the Bluegrass region. Led by executive chef Jonathan Searle, Lockbox uses thoughtful yet simple preparations and cooking techniques in a contemporary setting. Designed by Deborah Berke Partners, the Lockbox space highlights historic features like original marble floors, decorative plaster details and large windows. Communal tables in both the dining room and lounge provide opportunities for large groups to dine together, or for individual guests to meet new people while they dine.
The original vault, The Safe, provides an intimate setting for private dining of small groups up to 12. The communal table just outside The Safe seats 14 and is serviced by a separate bar.
Lockbox features rotating exhibitions and original works of contemporary art, like site-specific commission Tomorrow’s Weather.
> Learn more about the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington.
After college, Searle followed his passion for cooking and began his culinary career in 2008 at Lexington staples Dudley’s on Short, Bourbon n’ Toulouse, and Bellini’s. In 2011, Searle joined the team at Proof on Main, the acclaimed restaurant at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, and quickly rose through the ranks to become Executive Sous Chef. Searle helped the restaurant earn numerous accolades including a place on Bon Appetit magazine’s list of “10 Best Hotels for Food Lovers.”
With a successful tenure at Proof and a strong network of the region’s craft purveyors, Searle returns to Lexington. As the executive chef of Lockbox, his menus highlight simple ingredients, with a nod to Kentucky’s rich Southern heritage and Lexington’s own cultural and agricultural identities.
Food + Beverage Director
Charlie Cronin, a Los Angeles native, has more than a decade of food and beverage experience and proudly cut his teeth with 21c Museum Hotels as a banquet bartender. He went on to manage numerous bars and restaurants across the world, including New York, Philadelphia and Ireland. Over the years, Cronin developed his self-described ‘old-school’, thoughtful and honest approach to bar management and precise control of operations as general manager for a number of establishments. Most recently, he served as General Manager for Prohibition in New York City. He returned to Kentucky and 21c because of his love of bourbon and his attraction to the flourishing culinary scene.
Cronin comes to Lockbox after traveling to and experienced more than 20 different countries. His most influential experience was in a bar in Tokyo, where the cocktail creation was at a level he had never witnessed before. “I came across this little cocktail bar with only fifteen seats. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. There are a lot of cocktail bars in the world and I’ve been to some of the best, but Bar Tram was something special. The presentation is what struck me the most. My friend got a drink called Jet Black Bird which was colored ebony by charcoal powder, presented in a coupe glass on a disk of wood, covered with a gilded bird cage which was then removed for theatrical effect. I had never seen anything like it. The bartenders took so much pride in their craft, meticulously using tweezers and razor blades, making each drink a work of art. This attention to detail, creativity and contemplative handling of ingredients is part of a constant dialogue I have with my staff at Lockbox.”