Michael Cogbill outside of Vernon Park. (GIH | Rasheed Ajamu)

For The Love of Germantown is a profile series where neighbors and affiliates share their favorite places and things to do in Germantown.

In this edition, we speak with Mt.Airy native turned Germantown neighbor Michael Cogbill, who ran for Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District seat, representing Germantown in 2022. Cogbill is also the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference’s Political Action Committee Chair. He formerly worked with CeaseFirePA, a coalition that stands against gun violence.

Cogbill has organized voter ID clinics and neighborhood clean-ups and strives to make himself available to support neighborhood initiatives and happenings. He shares his favorite things about Germantown here.

Favorite place to grab food

He recommends the following dishes:

  • The ribs from Deke’s Garage Roadhouse BBQ at 137 Berkley Street,
  • The lamb from Paprika Halal Restaurant at 4167 Germantown Avenue, and
  • “Almost anything” from Salam Cafe at 5532 Germantown Avenue.

Favorite park to frequent

Cogbil says he likes Fernhill Park because of the walking trail, basketball & tennis courts, and Vernon Park, particularly when Oldies in the Park happens.

Favorite recreational activities in the neighborhood

“I like Chelten Avenue,” Cogbill says. “Just walking up the strip. I think it’s unique. I think Chelten Ave is coming back.” He also likes to ride his bike, which usually takes him out of the neighborhood.

Favorite Germantown shops

Cogbill took a different approach to answer this question, saying that while he’s never been to these businesses, he’d like to patronize the following:

  • Black Soul Vintage at 90 Church Lane, and
  • Perfectly Flawless Boutique at 5312 Germantown Avenue

He says he does like Ultimo Coffee at 5901 Wayne Avenue, though.

Most frequented public transportation route and usage

“The 23 all day,” Cogbill exclaims. “I have rode the 23 up Chestnut Hill to go to places like Cake. If you want to get out of Germantown for a little bit and not go too far, getting on the 23 and going to Chestnut Hill is pretty cool. You could ride the 23 down to the Fashion District.” 

He says he also likes the 23 because it visualizes how block-by-block Philadelphia is.

Recommended historic destination

He undoubtedly recommends the Johnson House at 6306 Germantown Avenue. He says, “That was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It’s full of Black history. It’s so important for people who share abolitionist ideologies or who care about the abolitionist movement.” 

He also shares that he attended his first Juneteenth celebration at the Johnson House in 2015. They host a celebration annually in June.

Fun fact about the neighborhood

He says West Germantown has three expensive private schools, citing Penn Charter, Greene Street Friends, and Germantown Friends, but no longer has its own public high school.

One possible addition to the neighborhood

Cogbill says he’d turn the old deli at 5708 Germantown Avenue into a coffee shop if he could. He says the neighborhood needs more places where neighbors can utilize a sit-down space with wifi access.