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Arf! Sniff out new dog park at Walla Walla

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David Spann and Kandis Nestor operate the new Badger Park off-leash dog park and Rå, a healthy-food truck, at Walla Walla Point Park.

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Sometimes a fella just wants to run free with his tongue hanging out and the wind in his ears. It’s a frequent activity for journalists, but we’ve heard that dogs like it, too.

Now, doggy options for playing untethered in the Wenatchee Valley have gone from awful to arf!-ful with last weekend’s re-opening of an off-leash park — named Badger Park — at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee.

We know there’s a real need here for an off-leash area,” said Kandis Nestor, who runs Badger Park and the adjacent Rå food-and-coffee truck with her fiance David Stann. “So we wanted to make it the best off-leash area we could.”

The fenced, half-acre, membership-only dog park is mostly wide-open space where Fido can frolic, but also features three agility courses (for different size dogs) with regulation obstacles — ramps, tunnels, teeter-totter, weaving poles and others.

Membership in the dog park costs $10 a month for unlimited use. Members are given a code to unlock the gate so little Fifi can join in canine shenanigans.

The couple’s management of the dog park came about last autumn when a parkside espresso stand, whose owner oversaw the off-leash area, closed up shop. Nestor and Stann re-fenced the area and added pooch-pleasing improvements such as box-loads of doggy toys and a potable water supply. (Cal Melton with L&M Fencing donated the fencing materials.)

Nestor and Stann also absorbed the espresso stand’s human offerings into their healthy-food business, Rå, which is based inside a renovated 1977 Mercedes diesel bus parked not far from the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail. We’re talking coffee drinks, veggie sandwiches, four different salads, 14 different teas (from Chå at Pybus Public Market) and juices, smoothies and shakes.

The bus is also headquarters for the Osprey Paddleshack, which rents kayaks and paddleboards.

Details: Badger Park off-leash dog park and Ra, a healthy-food truck, are located at the south end of Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours for the dog park. Info: 264-1088.

Westside restaurant chain to open Mexican eatery here

Taqueria El Rinconsito, an expanding chain of Mexican restaurants based in Federal Way, has announced it’ll open its 14th eatery in Wenatchee by late April or early May.

The new restaurant will open in the former location of the 7-Eleven store that once operated at the corner of North Miller Street and Springwater Avenue. The restaurant will have around 15 employees.

We have a lot of hopes for our business in Wenatchee,” said El Rinconsito spokesman Enrique Islas. “There’s a large Hispanic population and many tourists and visitors who know our restaurants from the westside of the mountains.”

El Rinconsito has restaurants throughout Puget Sound, including Bellevue, Burien, Kent, Lynnwood and Tacoma. The company has two locations in Yakima and is planning a 15th restaurant for Vancouver later this year.

We see ourselves in a middle category between fast food and a family restaurant,” said Islas. “Customers order at the counter, and we bring the food to their table. It’s a concept that we’ve found our customers like a lot.”

El Rinconsito offers a full menu of traditional Mexican recipes — tacos, tortas burritos, enchiladas, soups and seafood — but also specializes in Spanish-style antojitos, which use a mix of meats, cheeses and vegetables in different styles of tortillas. The guarachi, for example, is a flat tortilla (pizza style) loaded with a layer of meat, then tomatoes and vegetables, then cheese and a variety of sauces.

Our goal,” said Islas, “is to serve tasty and authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices.” In Yakima, where competition is fierce among Mexican restaurants, El Rinconsito offers “happy hour” tacos for 69 cents from 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Details: Taqueria El Rinconsito, 1100 N. Miller St., Wenatchee. Should be open by late April or early May. Info: elrinconsito.com.

This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or irwin@wenatcheeworld.com.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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