Katheryn Parker's love for pizza started as a young girl in Northern California in 1974. At just five years old, her parents Connie and Dave, began their journey into the pizza business, eventually moving to Boise, Idaho, and opening the first Flying Pie Pizzeria in 1978.
Today, Parker owns and operates her own Flying Pie Pizzeria in Issaquah and continues to carry on her family's legacy of creating unique, delicious pizzas using their secret family recipe.
"My mother is Mexican, and my father is Polish," said Parker. "When I was a young girl, my parents came up with this bright idea to open a pizza restaurant in the Bay Area. We eventually ended up in Idaho, where they opened another pizzeria, and that's where the Flying Pie got its start. I grew up in the industry, so when I tried to go a different direction in college, I learned my love for making pizza never really left me."
When she was 28, Parker decided to open her own Flying Pie in Issaquah.
"We've been here ever since, and it's been a wonderful journey," she said. "The best part of being in this industry is getting to know the community while growing together as family and neighbors. I'm so happy to be a part of it all."
Parker and her partner of nine years, Phoebe, are active members of the Issaquah community and generously support local charities through their business. Parker is somewhat of a celebrity in the Issaquah School District for her "Art of Making Pizza" enrichment classes she hosts for grade school students.
"Our program, 'The Art of Making Pizza,' is an after-school program we participate in [pre-COVID], where students get to make their own pizza, then take it home to bake and enjoy," said Parker. "It's predominately for K-5th grade, and sometimes we have groups of over 100 kids at a time participating."
Flying Pie's dough is made from scratch and hand-rolled daily. The fresh vegetable toppings are prepared fresh every day, and they use only 100% whole milk cheeses. One of the stand-out preparation styles Parker uses on her pizza is how she prepares the sausage toppings for her pies.
"When we put sausage on our pizza, we put it on raw, which is unique in our industry," said Parker. "Most people pre-cook the sausage, then put it on the pizza. However, when it cooks on the pizza itself, it really changes the whole flavor of everything cooked below. It's a technique my mom came up with back in the mid-80s, and it's super tasty. I've had the opportunity to travel all over the world with Phoebe and try pizza in different countries. I've never had anything with a flavor similar to ours. It's just unique."
From feeding volunteers on "Make Issaquah Beautiful Day" to bringing pizzas to the hard workers at the hatchery on "Salmon Days" every year, Parker is the famous pizza lady of Issaquah. Who doesn't love seeing a pile of full pizza boxes headed your way after a long day of volunteering for your community?
"Flying Pie is a great place to come and enjoy a beer and pie, or grab some carbs after a long day hiking," she said. "During COVID, we have a tent set up outside and some heaters to keep you toasty and warm. Downtown Issaquah is a great place to spend the afternoon and stop by for some pizza."
Flying Pie is located at 30 Front St. in Issaquah. You can order online or by calling 425-391-2407.