1901 Colonial Ave
Norfolk, VA 23508
The Story of Cogans Ghent
Shortly after opening The New Belmont (now Belmont House of Smoke), Dave Filipowski and Rich Katz started looking to reprise their first restaurant venture, Speedy’s Tacos. They came across the old Cogans building on Colonial Ave., a former “instant art bar,” where at one point various grunge artists and bands thrived. As former patrons of Cogans, they knew the grunge art and music needed to remain, but alas, tacos didn’t really fit the vibe. Dave and Rich the Cogans building was destined to be Norfolk’s best pizza & beer joint with a punk rock flavor!
When Dave and Rich took over the abandoned Cogans building, treasures from the past, such as antique posters and toys, were left behind – many of which are still on display at the Ghent Cogans. One of the posters, an original Ringling Brothers Circus poster, provided the inspiration for the Cogans Gorilla. Artwork featuring the Cogan Gorilla and inspired by this poster now hangs above the custom 33 tap bar handcrafted by Dave Filipowski, himself.
Even though Dave and Rich had never made a pizza before, they quickly went to work exploring and experimenting with dough, sauce and cheese until they had the perfect dough recipe, ideal sauces (mild and the infamous spicy) and the highest quality of cheese to complete the ultimate Cogans pie that gives its patrons ‘Spaceman strength and endurance.’
Cogans Pizza officially opened its doors in 2001 and was an immediate hit! By 2015, the restaurant was so busy it could hardly accommodate the demand and so Dave and Rich devised a plan to open a sister location in the Highland Park neighborhood on North Colley Avenue. They transformed a former Turbo Wash into a sleeker building and rooftop deck overlooking Knitting Mill Creek.
The North Colley location, lovingly referred to as Cogans North, has already been a huge success in its two short years. The pizza is just as tasty, the beer just as cold, but with a few more taps – 44 to be exact – and a two tap beer engine that pours real Cask Ale. Each Friday evening, Cogans North hosts #FirkinFriday where they tap a new specially made firkin from local craft brewers.
In 2017 Dave and Rich will be opening their third Cogans location inside the Waterside District in Downtown Norfolk, which will be feature Cogans’ popular Artisan Pizzas and a wide variety of draft beer! Check out the new Cogans location when it arrives at the Waterside District in April 2017!