Shinsei, which means rebirth and transformation, isn’t just the name of Tracy Rathbun’s restaurant, which she opened with business partner Lynae Fearing in June 2006, it’s become a way of life. This one-time-pyschology-major-turned-car-dealsership–manager at hot spots like Park Place Porsche and Boardwalk Audi says being a mom wasn’t something she’d always envisioned for her life. “I can’t say I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I didn’t get married until I was 35 and I kind of got used to the idea that it might just pass me by because I hadn’t met anyone that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,” Rathbun, who, when interviewed for this piece, was two weeks away from giving birth to her second child, a daughter, Garrett Leigh (she also has a son, Max, 3 1/2). “Then I met my husband and I thought here’s a guy that can be a true partner for me — it just came natural.”
What She Does
Aside from raising Max, planning for a new bundle to arrive and running a widely successful sushi bar and pan-Asian restaurant, which is situated on the southwest corner of Lovers Lane and Inwood Road, Rathbun and her husband Kent, who’s also a restaurateur (he owns Abacus and Jasper’s), are avid art collectors and philanthropists. In 2001, the couple decided to throw a “thank you” party for all of the people who had helped build their new home and they invited seven of their artist friends to display their work for the fete. The party turned into an annual event — Art Party Dallas — and, in 2005, the gathering took on another dimension: charity. “The party grew a little big, so we decided we would charge for tickets,” shares Rathbun. “We thought, we’ll have a double positive where we can focus the invitation to people who really want to be there and if you’re willing to pay anywhere from $75 to $150 for a ticket, you want to be there. We give 100 percent of the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.”
How She Does It
While Rathbun’s days are filled to the brim — mornings are dedicated to spending quality time with Max (pre-baby), afternoons and evenings (often until midnight) are spent running Shinsei — this busy mom says success is all about three things: support, organization and being in the moment.
“I laugh when I tell people that Hilary Rodham Clinton had it right — it takes a village,” says Rathbun. “I’m so fortunate to have a husband, a nanny and a business partner who all kind of share my same vision.”
Rathbun also concedes that with so many balls to juggle, organization is vital, but not as paramount as taking the time to soak in the little things. “We don’t spend a lot of time at our house sitting around watching TV. We don’t do a lot of the things that some families do because our time is so precious. The time we spend together we try to spend in the moment — really being with each other.”