Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance of Josh Rubin

A Man With a Plan

Josh Rubin
Josh Rubin
Whisk before its opening, as seen in <br />an Aug., 2011, Google Maps image.
Whisk before its opening, as seen in
an Aug., 2011, Google Maps image.
Coffee had become Josh Rubin's obsession.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he attended Alperin Schechter Day School and Classical High School, then went on to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Soon he was back in Providence and working at Coffee Exchange, a small, sustainability-committed roaster and cafe in the Fox Point area.

In 2005 Rubin became a manager at Coffee Exchange, but six years later, at 30, he decided to open his own place. Rubin consulted extensively with his Coffee Exchange boss, Charlie Fishbein, who remembers him as passionate about his plans to find and serve the best possible coffee. Rubin moved to a Brooklyn, New York neighborhood that seemed like a good bet for his business: Ditmas Park's proximity to Prospect Park, plus its stunning, stand-alone Victorian mansions were inspiring a new wave of gentrification, but rent was still cheap.

Rubin raised much of the money for his coffee shop online (at the time of his disappearance he'd been seeking another $5000 for an audiovisual system to host live performances and film screenings). Whisk Bakery Cafe opened in September 2011 at 1119 Newkirk Avenue, between Westminster Road and Coney Island Avenue, not far from Brooklyn College.

Whisk quickly became a bustling, popular neighborhood spot, and it seemed like Rubin had a chance of fulfilling his dream to have a coffee and performance place that would serve as a hub for a growing creative community. He hired a few employees, but put in long hours and did most of the baking himself, and always paid close attention to the coffee quality. Brooklyn customers would remember tall, bespectacled Rubin as a funny, intense young man.

His happiness didn't last.

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