The well-liked owner of a fledgling Ditmas Park café went missing on Monday under intense financial pressure and mental anguish.
Josh Rubin, the owner of Whisk on Newkirk Avenue, was last seen on Monday night by his roommate before he left the Ditmas Park apartment without saying where he was going.
The roommate, Justin DeCarlo, became concerned when Rubin failed to show up to open the café on Tuesday. And Tony Roma, the doorman of the building next door, also was concerned when Rubin failed to pick up the bagels for the cafe that are delivered to Roma’s building every morning.
Beyond that, little is known about Rubin’s movements after leaving his apartment.
Police are investigating reports that Rubin suffered from bipolar disorder — a mental illness that has a high suicide rate. Sources also said that Rubin might have been troubled by the prospect of falling behind on the rent on his two-month-old establishment, whose first payment was supposed to be delivered on Tuesday.
An employee at Whisk confirmed that Rubin had been trying to sell the café in recent days.
“We take missing person cases very seriously,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez of the 70th Precinct. “He seems to have been in a depressed state — it’s something that concerns us.”
Police searched the area for Rubin and checked his apartment and local hospitals, but turned up nothing.
Rubin has skipped town before, spending time on and off with his family Rhode Island — but he had made sure to get someone to cover the cafe, said an employee.
Whisk was open briefly on Wednesday morning, before Paige Lipari — an employee who opens the shop on Wednesdays — found out from a customer that Rubin was missing, and decided to close down for the day.
“I had texted him the night before, and didn’t hear back,” said Lipari. “But I was sort of used to that, so I decided to come in and open the shop up.”
A reporter’s calls to Rubin’s cellphone were not answered — and his voice mail-box was full.
Whisk opened in September and quickly became a comfortable neighborhood café that engaged with the community, residents said.
“He had a wonderful vision for the café and a strong sense of neighborhood,” said Yoon Choi, who leads a children’s sing-along at Whisk on Fridays and lives above the café.
Choi said she asked Rubin last weekend whether he was going to be around the upcoming week — and he said he would.
“I know in the past Josh has gone out of town, so who knows,” she added.
Anyone with information regarding Rubin’s whereabouts should call the 70th Precinct at (718) 851-5557.
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531.