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Beloved Westchester Restaurant Owner Dies

John Ambrose
John Ambrose Photo Credit: Stephanie Lombardo

Beloved Westchester restaurant owner John Ambrose died suddenly on Monday, Sept. 16 at the age of 65.

Ambrose, a Rye resident, co-owned the Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar at Playland Park in the Long Island Sound and the former Seaside Johnnie's at Rye Town Park.

"It is with a heavy heart that we share news of the passing of our beloved John Ambrose, the heart and soul of the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar," the restaurant posted on Facebook. "He will be missed beyond words and we will continue to keep his memory and mission alive of 'Everyone goes home happy' for years to come.

Known for his vibrant spirit, big smile, and quick wit, Ambrose spent some 40 years operating several area restaurants including the Crab Shanty, in Mamaroneck for 26 years, and Seaside Johnnie's for 17 years with co-owner Sam Chernin.

The duo also owned the Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar together.

The restaurant said it will be closed through Thursday, Sept. 19, in honor of John, but will reopen on Friday for their final weekend of the "Season," as he would have wanted.

Ambrose's brother, Bill Ambrose, also posted to Facebook about his brother's passing.

"My brother John Ambrose has passed suddenly and unexpectedly. He was everything to me. He was my brother, a surrogate father after our Dad passed, the best, most thoughtful, considerate uncle my boys could ever have and a friend and positive influence on so many," he wrote. "To be friends with John was not a temporary thing. His friendship lasted for decades. We are poorer to be without you but far richer to have known you. Love you brother."

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