The TCQ&A: “Kitchenette’s Turkey Meatloaf Is My Favorite”

dan-rubenstein-by-tribeca-citizenDan Rubenstein got into the pet-care business for a tragic reason: He was a tech consultant in New York and while on a project in Chicago his dog died as a result of a negligence at a doggy daycare. So he opened his own daycare there, sold it, and went on to develop kennel-management software called Pawtracker. In 2005 he moved back to New York City, founding the Spot—initially named the Paw Stop—on Murray Street. The 5,000-square-foot business is a daycare, retail shop, grooming facility, and more. (You’ve no doubt seen the Spot’s car making pickups and deliveries.) When he’s not running the Spot or hanging out with his wife and two kids, he’s presiding over the Dog Owners of Tribeca, the group that takes care of the Warren Street dog run.

How long have you lived in Tribeca?
Four years.

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
Kitchenette. Love the brunch, but the turkey meatloaf is my favorite.

courtesy-the-palmWhich restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
We have two kids so it has been a while. We used to love Fresh, but unfortunately it closed. Now, we go to the Palm [left].

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
Dean’s. The chicken parm is fantastic and the house salad is a close second. My wife would reverse the order.

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I don’t really shop for myself too often but my wife is always taking us to some great kid’s store. (She says she particularly likes Babesta and Shoofly.) I have to say that NYC kids dress pretty cool.

What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
Does an iPod running band count? I got one for $5 at one of those tourist shops on Church between Warren and Chambers.

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
Equinox and the Whole Foods.

What’s Tribeca’s best-kept secret?
Unfortunately, I work too much and all my free time is spent with my wife and two young kids. I just don’t get out enough to know of one. Besides, I didn’t think there were any secrets here in New York. When you live in a city among people as sharp we are, it’s tough to keep a secret.

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
Battery Park, Hudson River Park, and for a walk up Greewich Street starting at Murray and ending at around White.

warren-101-by-tribeca-citizenWhich neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
101 Warren [right]. That building is awesome!

What’s your favorite part of Tribeca (street, park, whatever)?
The cobblestone streets and great architecture in north Tribeca from Hudson to Greenwich and Duane to Walker.

Your most memorable Tribeca celebrity sighting?
In my business I have seen quite a few and many are customers. Celebs love their dogs. Glenn Close has visited the store. She was alone (no entourage) and not an ounce of pretentiousness in her at all. She was very nice in person, which is what I expected—after all, she was there because she was co-sponsoring a foster dog with us via the Mayor’s Alliance. James Gandolfini and his wife have shopped at the store as well. They are very nice and it was cool to chat with him and find out that one of my favorite actors who played such a tough guy in one of my favorite shows (The Sopranos) is such a big dog lover.

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I have lived all over the city and even in Brooklyn for a year and a half. This is hands down the best neighborhood in the city. My wife and I don’t want to live anywhere else in the city.

What’s changed in Tribeca that you like? That you don’t?
In just four short years it has gotten a lot more crowded here, but I can deal because it has stayed just as clean and just as quiet.

Why Tribeca?
Great parks, convenient movie theater, great shopping, great restaurants, very quiet (compared with the rest of the city), family-oriented.

Previous TCQ&As:
Pam Chmiel: “I Wish I Could Renovate Pier A into a Waterfront Home”
• Jeff Tabak: “I’d Put the Sawdust Back on the Floor of Morgan’s”
Kimberly Reed: “My Puppy Would Not Stop Sniffing Ed Burns”
Hanne Larsen and Melanie Zrihen: “We Wrote Our Business Plan at Kaffe 1668”
Christy Frank: “I Wish Tribeca Had a Really Great Cheese Shop”


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