F A L L    2 0 1 6    N E W S L E T T E R

The mission of the DIA is to promote and enhance the vitality of historic Downtown Issaquah through programs and events that celebrate our unique culture.


Next Quarterly Downtown Meeting
Wednesday, November 9   8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
artEAST – 195 Front Street North

Agenda items will include:
2017 Goals for downtown – Karen Donovan
DIA open positions – board and staff-
DIA Events Director – Brenda – Shop Local
City of Issaquah Economic Development – Andrea – Streetscape update
City of Issaquah Parks Director – Jeff Watling, – Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Plan update


Greetings downtown merchants, neighbors and friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I am resigning as Executive Director for DIA effective January 1, 2017.   Time constraints from additional client work for the Washington State Fair and a new contract with Cirque Du Soleil will not allow me sufficient time to give to DIA to grow and continue their great work.

I am very proud of what DIA has accomplished over the past five years and would like to continue to volunteer.  DIA is working closely with the city to develop a streetscape plan, identifying and programing underutilized spaces, and developing a merchant program.  It’s exciting to see the improvements we’ve started at the Shell Station with the new coat of paint and outdoor amenities planned including lighting, seating and landscaping.

DIA continues to expand and strengthen events to attract residents and visitors alike.  We’ve created partnerships for the Fantastic Fly-In paragliding event with the paragliding community, King County, the chamber and artEAST.  The popular Gas Station Blues series, in conjunction with the Washington State Blues Society, brings in talented blues musicians.  ArtWalk and Fenders on Front Street continue to be community favorites.

The DIA board and committee members are filled with innovative and caring individuals that are committed to continue the work of the DIA mission – to promote and enhance the vitality of historic downtown Issaquah through programs and events that celebrate our unique culture.  Interested candidates for the Executive Director position are urged to contact President Keith Watts at by November 15.

Karen Donovan
Executive Director

 Brenda’s Corner- Fall is here and Issaquah Goes Apples!

 The Downtown Issaquah Association is pleased to announce Issaquah Goes Apples a community event combining activities in the downtown area including walking tours, art experiences for all ages, Pokémon charging stations, seasonal photo opportunities, live music and a Farm Fresh Pop-Up Market Place at the historic Shell Station.   Two local farms will be at the historic Shell Station with a bounty of farm fresh produce along with goods from downtown Issaquah businesses.  Leave your shopping bags with at our concierge while you discover family friendly activities throughout downtown Issaquah.  The Market Place kicks off at the historic Shell Gas Station at 9 a.m.

We invite YOU, our local merchants and businesses, to participate in the Pop-Up Market Place.  If you are interested in having a booth at the event, please contact Christina Bruning  For more information about this event, please visit



Chatting with Chef Pa from Levitate- 10 things you didn’t know…..

Issaquah has a new chef in town- Executive Chef Pa Jallow at Levitate Gastropub on Front Street.  I must admit I often find myself dining at Levitate especially after I discovered the market fresh Burratta Caprese salad this summer- yes I am obsessed with the grilled peaches and burratta cheese!  I inquired about the dish and was told that their new chef has a unique background and I should meet him.   Interesting idea that sparked a thought, let’s feature local talent in our merchant news so we can meet our neighbors and have one more unique story to share about our great city.

Chef Pa was born in Gambia, West Africa.  One of 11 kids and the eldest boy, he moved to Louisiana when he was 18 and discovered he enjoyed the people and community he found in the restaurant world.  He moved to New York and began an extensive 20 year career with TGIF.   Pa received his culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale AZ and had the good fortune of working with Chef Kevin Binkley, owner of Blinkley’s in Scottsdale, AZ.   Here is a picture of Pa with Kevin taken at Binkley’s.

Here are 10 fun facts about our Chef Pa Jallow:

  1. His favorite dishes at Levitate include the Shrimp and Grits paired with Hefeweizen or fish and chips with stout.
  2. Strangest chef request was when he was asked to completely debone a fish entrée before serving it to the customer. It took over 30 minutes but he met the request to the customers delight.
  3. His go to kitchen gadgets are the Sous Vide and his paring knife. This explains why the short ribs are perfectly cooked and so tender!
  4. Most challenging ingredient to work with- the egg. It can be difficult to produce the perfect egg since there are so many ways to prepare it.
  5. His favorite wine is Pinot Noir enjoyed with a steak.
  6. His “last supper” request would be his mom’s Supa, a Gambian dish with smoked catfish, okra, greens and rice. Similar to gumbo but better!  Something sweet about Pa- he is a Mama’s boy!
  7. His favorite thing to cook at home is ramen noodles with basil, cherry tomatoes and topped with an egg.
  8. If we handed him a salmon from Issaquah Creek, he would grill it and serve with red pepper jelly along with roasted butternut squash sautéed in apple cider.
  9. His craziest kitchen incident was when he had a kitchen fire during the busiest time of day and had to put it out with salt and milk.
  10. Pa’s favorite cookbook is French Laundry by Chef Thomas Keller. Try the lobster with figs and polenta!

Pa, his lovely wife Shannon and kids were attracted to Issaquah because of the small town feeling in a larger community and our fantastic school system.   His menu is a reflection of his travels, reading and time spent listening to his guests.  On his days off, he can be found enjoying sushi at Aji close to their home in the Highlands.  If you see him- be sure to say hi.

The next time I enjoy the Burratta Caprese salad, I will be thinking of the lovely soul behind it.   Next time you venture into Levitate, mention you read the article about Pa and receive $1 off the beverage of your choice.


Front Street Market –

This downtown fixture has been sold to a Detroit businessman. Rebecca and Bill Knowles owned and operated Front Street Market for 42 years.   The store is now open.  Please stop by and say hello.



Walk and Win!
Downtown Issaquah Association and the City of Issaquah are supporting Walktober: Walk Your World!   Walktober is an outreach program of Seattle based organization Feet First.  The Walktober goal is to have folks log walks that equal circumnavigating the earth- 25,000 miles during the month of October.  Walks that count include taking care of errands on foot, walking children to school and participating in walking tours of your city.   Walkers are encouraged to log their miles and are eligible to win great prizes. Register at:

Issaquah Goes Apples
Saturday, October 22 – 9:00-2:00
community event featuring Marketing Place at the Shell, Art by Fire glass blowing, Triple XXX Pumpkin Bash, Boehm’s tour, Walktober and more.

Historic PubCrawl
Thursday, October 27 –  7:00-9:00
This popular event takes 30 people to hear about Issaquah’s interesting past while enjoying snacks and libations at some of Issaquah’s oldest buildings.

Zombie Walk
Saturday, October 29 – 1:30-7:30 p.m.
1:30-4:30 Zombie Make Up – historic Shell Station
2:30-4:30 Practice Thriller and Time Warp – historic Shell Station
4:30-5:00 Zombie Walk Up Front Street– historic Shell Station to City Hall steps
5:00-5:30 Thriller and Time Warp Dance at the City Hall steps
5:30 After Party – FREE showing of The Night of the Living Dead at the Train Depot
7:30pm live music by Fred Hopkins and The Ghouls

Arts Flight – Saturday, November 5 –  4:00-7:00 p.m.
Interdisciplinary Arts Activities – Puget Sounds Piano, Art by Fire, artEAST, The Studio

Gilman Village Wine Walk – Friday, November 18 – 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Live music, snacks and local boutique wines poured in various tasting locations at Gilman Village retail shops.

Hang up Christmas Lights downtown – Saturday, November 19 – 10:00-12:00 p.m.
Volunteers needed to make our downtown sparkle for the holidays
Check in at the historic Shell Station

 Shop Local – Saturday, November 26 –
Support your local businesses downtown and shop local.  Visit the second holiday pop up shop at the Historic Shell Station for fun, unique, handmade gifts of all sorts. The pop-up holiday shop is open each Friday-Sunday from Noon-beginning on November 26th through December 23rd.  Let us know how you plan to participate in this National shopping event.




We need your help in designing Front Street. We have heard overwhelming praise for the wider sidewalk that resulted from the drainage repair project. What else would you like to see? City government is working with DIA and other stakeholders to develop a design plan for Front Street. This design plan includes the re-imagining of features such as sidewalks, trees/landscaping, lighting, and how to make it easier for your customers to access parking, among many others. Opportunities to collect your feedback are coming soon. Get alerts on this design project by signing up here: