RIP: Bay Ave Avenue Trattoria

Joe RJoseph Romanowski, Chef of the Bay Avenue Trattoria, died Monday of cancer. He was 52. He and his wife Maggie Lubcke owned Joe and Maggie’s Bistro in Long Branch from 1991 to 2005, and then Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands. The Trattoria was destroyed by flood waters during super-storm Sandy and never reopened.

Lubcke said her husband was tired after 14 years of running a busy restaurant in Long Branch,  they sold the bistro at the height of its popularity and bought a small pizzeria in Highlands. They eventually took out the pizza ovens and focused on rustic, regional Italian cuisine.

He and his wife planned to rebuild in Highlands with the hopes of getting a federal disaster loan. But Lubecke said Tuesday that money never came through and the cancer had spread. They could only fight one fight at a time.

RIP Joe, the Trattoria will be missed.


  1. Such sad news. I loved working at the trattoria. Great group of people that I miss terribly. Joe was great to work with and for. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and I looked forward to going to work. My heart breaks for Maggie, their family, and the whole staff. Rest in peace Joe.


  2. I have already missed the wonderful food and people at the Trattoria, and now I will morn that the person that cooked the best duck I have ever tasted has gone. Thoughts of love and comfort to Maggie and all.


  3. The way that this was presented was very disturbing. I thought you were announcing, as you have before, that Bay Ave. Trattoria was not reopening; which in itself is sad. But to report of Joe’s passing this way, in my opinion, was thoughtless.

    Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 22:52:26 +0000 To:


  4. Have been a long time client to Joe and Maggies’ establishments, news of Joes’ death has been shocking and sad, he and his style of cooking will be missed, condolences to Maggie and the rest of Joes’ family, and all who worked with him through the years along with his loyal clientele.


Comments are closed.