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21c Museum Hotels Announces Details on Forthcoming Restaurant

Published: 08/14/2015

Louisville, KY. August 11, 2015 - 21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning Louisville-based boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant group, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Searle as executive chef of its forthcoming restaurant, Lockbox, which will be located in 21c Museum Hotel Lexington. Lockbox will showcase Searle's commitment to sourcing local, high-quality seasonal ingredients and using thoughtful yet simple preparations and cooking techniques. Searle comes to Lockbox from another 21c Museum Hotels restaurant, Proof on Main, in Louisville, KY, where he served as executive sous chef. His announcement as executive chef reinforces the company's commitment to developing talent and promoting growth from within its properties and restaurants.

"Jonathan is such a perfect fit for Lockbox," says Sarah Robbins, Senior Vice President, Operations. "He started his career in Lexington and has maintained close relationships with colleagues in the kitchens of many of Lexington's great restaurants. His dedication to sourcing the highest quality, local produce available is truly showcased in his cooking."

Lockbox will be located within 21c Lexington in the historic Fayette National Bank Building, at the corner of Main and Upper Streets in downtown Lexington. The building was originally designed by the prominent architecture firm McKim, Mead, and White and reflects the significance of the banking industry at the time of its construction as the Lexington's first skyscraper in 1913. The restaurant and bar will occupy the historic banking hall, and its name references its original use. Deborah Berke Partners serves as the Design Architect and Interior Designer to reinvent this historic space as a contemporary brasserie. Large windows flood the historic space with natural light; historic marble floors and wainscoting and decorative plaster details provide a beautiful backdrop for the contemporary furnishings and art that will occupy the space. The historic safe deposit vault is repurposed as an intimate private dining room near a private service bar and glass-front bourbon cabinets, housing an extensive offering of more than 50 Kentucky bourbons. 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 kitchen at Lockbox will be open to the dining room and visible to pedestrians walking by the Upper Street storefront windows. A custom American-made Jade cooking suite will allow Searle to lead his team in a highly collaborative manner. His menu will change frequently as the availability of local product will inform his offerings. Diners can expect the menu to be focused and seasonal, and include a number of options that are suitable for sharing. The intimate bar and lounge will occupy the corner space. The cocktail program will highlight the prominence of the bourbon industry in the area. Beyond the bourbon selection, guests can expect an extensive wine list, seasonal cocktail lists, and an assortment of craft beers.

Searle is returning to Lexington, where he started his culinary career in the kitchens of Bellini's and Dudley's on Short. He joined the kitchen team at Proof on Main in 2011, helping it earn accolades including a place on Bon Appetit's list of "10 Best Hotels for Food Lovers."

"I am very excited to be returning to Lexington to take the helm at Lockbox," says Searle. "I look forward to opportunities to collaborate with my many industry friends and quality purveyors, and to meet those that I haven't yet worked with in the community. It feels like an exciting time to be part of the food culture in Lexington."

Lockbox will open in early 2016 and will serve dinner, lunch, and breakfast daily, and brunch on the weekend. For more information, visit, on Facebook at, and on Instagram at @LockboxLex.

Recruiting is under way for a Food & Beverage Director. For information on career opportunities, please visit

About 21c Museum Hotels

21c Museum Hotels was founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The couple opened the first 21c Museum Hotel in 2006 in Louisville, KY, rehabilitating a series of 19th century warehouses along downtown's West Main Street. Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c is an inventive union of genuine hospitality, thoughtful design, and culinary creativity - all anchored by a contemporary art museum with thought-provoking exhibitions and cultural programming. 21c currently operates hotels in Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; Bentonville, AR and Durham, NC. A hotel is under construction in Oklahoma City, OK and Nashville, TN and projects are under development in Kansas City, MO and Indianapolis, IN. The company is equally focused on creating unique, chef driven restaurants that are as much a part of the community as the hotel. Currently, 21c operates a diverse roster of restaurants including Proof on Main, located in 21c Louisville; Metropole, located in 21c Cincinnati; The Hive, located in 21c Bentonville; Counting House, located in 21c Durham and Garage Bar in Louisville, KY.

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