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About Us

Making Since 1997

Our Story

154 Jay Street was built circa 1870. What happened between 1870 and 1908 remains a mystery. However, there has been speculation that the building was once home to a brothel and gambling parlor.
Asbury B ChristianAsbury B Christian from 1913 from the County Archives

Asbury B Christian from 1913 from the County Archives

In 1908, Asbury B. Christian purchased the building, laid the Greek tile floor, and operated Twentieth Century Lunch until 1915.

Between 1915 and 1944, the building was occupied by a number of businesses including a florist, a smoke shop, and other restaurants.

In 1944 Stanley Karwin purchased the building, installed the bar, and named it Jay Tavern, which soon became a Schenectady landmark, and remained in business until 2000.


Where we are today

We purchased the building in 2000 and on April 10th Ambition was born!

While cleaning out the upstairs, we found a number of old relics from the building’s early days such as gambling tokens and a corset. However, we unknowingly awoke the spirit of Asbury B. Christian. Because of similar descriptions, we’ve nicknamed him Blackboots. His spirit has remained in the building and has been seen in the restaurant by staff and customers alike.

So if you’re eating and somebody touches your shoulder and when you turn around, no one is there, just give Blackboots a nod. He just wants to make sure you have a good visit!


Only the Best

made from Scratch

Such a great little spot! Had a delicious breakfast sandwich and muffin. Staff was wonderful, the space is cozy and eclectic, definitely recommend.

Meet Marc

Bradley Cooper
Marc in Funny Hat

After more than a dozen years of owning Ambition, Marc has seen and heard just about everything. With wit and humor, he has penned his first book about all the dysfunction and drama involved in the food service industry, Is the Coffee Fresh? Confessions of Drama, Dysfunction and Daily Life at a Downtown Coffeehouse.

Marc’s recipes and experiences have also been featured in national books The Turnaround:Amazing Stories of Success from Ordinary People who Turned their Dream Ideas into Thriving Businesses and The Upscale Redneck Riviera Cookbook and Travel Guide – Beaches, Salt Water, Tiki Torches, Trop Rock Music and Great Food!

Celebrities Marc has served & cooked for include

  • Frankie Avalon – Grease
  • Talyor Hicks – American Idol/Grease
  • Ace Young – Idol/Grease
  • K.D. Lang
  • Ben Folds
  • Dennis Deyoung – Styx
  • Barbara Eden
  • Tommy Tune
  • Ted Neeley
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Dean Winters – Oz
  • Rose Byrne – Helen “Bridesmaid”
  • Aaron Ruell and Efren Ramirez
  • Comedian Ron White
  • James Brown
  • Rex Smith
  • Eva Mendes
  • Ray Liotta
  • 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle
  • George Hamilton
  • Christopher Seiber
  • Marvin Hamlisch
  • Nora Jones
  • Mandy Patinkin
  • Johnny Mathis
  • Ray Liotta
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • The Cake Boss Buddy Valastro
  • Molly Ringwald
  • ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen
  • Dennis DeYoung of Styx
  • Tommy Tune
  • Ted Nelly
  • Tony Ward
  • 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle
  • US House of Representatives John Lewis
  • Andrew Rannells
  • Ben Folds
  • Sara Evans
  • Thora Birch