Meet Marc Renson. Meet his dream, Ambition Coffee & Eatery, Inc., one of the Capital Region's most popular establishments. They are one and the same. Ambitious. Calm. Frenetic. Warm as a baby's bathwater (huh?). Funky. Established. Flying by the seat of its pants. Soothing like a cup of brewed decaf. Tasteful decor...well, you get the pattern.
To say Ambition is a landmark on Jay Street is to say...something. Ambition is everything and anything you want it to be. Businessmen come for lunch. The blue-haired set come for pre- or post-Proctor's events. Schenectady's glitterati do the same. Everyday folk just come to hang out.
Marc Renson's book, Is The Coffee Fresh? Confessions of Drama, Dysfunction and Daily Life at a Downtown Coffeehouse, is a love story. It's a Fellini movie. It's life about and with a guy who loves what he does amid the human condition. He might want to heal that condition, but failing that, he'll serve up the best food, reasonable prices, ambience, and service anywhere.
Marc and his partner, Greg, have proudly shared life and ambition since New Year's Eve, 1998. And Ambition since April 10, 2000.
Marc is irritated, bemused, and ultimately genuinely concerned for his patrons, when they ask:
Is the sandwich special good?
Does your cream of tomato soup have milk in it?
Is there caffeine in the biscuits?
And, of course, Is the coffee fresh?
In his love story/book, he'll tell you the brutal truth about running a food-service establishment, including running a staff. What they do, say, and steal.
Marc says that the hiring standard for food service workers is low (basically a pulse and no murder convictions). But this truth belies his workers, as the staff at Ambition is universally friendly, capable, and loyal (i.e., you see the same faces when you go back).
Marc proudly showed off his baby, his book and/or his coffeehouse at the recent Jay Street Book Fair. Stop by Ambition and learn about its brothel past, how it became Bradley Cooper's favorite local spot when he filmed his recent cop movie here, why there are no french fries served but tortilla chips instead.
And book the meeting room for your organization. Or for group therapy. Marc will understand and accommodate you.