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Everyday Business | Rock climbing with a Thai chicken wrap

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Josiah Bartel, manager of The Last Pitch Cafe at Riverfront Rock Gym in Wenatchee

This is our kind of rock climbing — drink beer, eat pizza and have a great view of all those people clinging to walls and dangling from ropes.

The Last Pitch Cafe at Wenatchee’s Riverfront Rock Gym, adjacent to Walla Walla Point Park, makes all this possible. It offers a front-row seat through big windows to what might be the best display of athletics in eastern Washington. Add a menu that includes Thai fire-braised chicken wraps with spicy peanut sauce and a Hueco Tanks southwestern-style pizza, and you’ve got a workout even non-danglers can appreciate. (By the way, all of the Last Pitch’s pizzas are named after famous rock-climbing sites, including Hueco Tanks in Texas.)

Mark Shipman, one of the gym-cafe owners, helps keep the beer flowing at the eatery. He promises eight local or regional craft brews on tap with other favorites — think Bud Light — in bottles or cans.

The good food and great beer “makes this place more meaningful to the community,” said Shipman. “It’s not just a place where our own friends come to practice rock climbing, but a place for everyone to get together, relax, have some fun.”

And about that name: The Last Pitch is a reference that’s sort of like golf’s “19th Hole.” In rock climbing, the last pitch refers to the final, uppermost portion of a climbing route where ropes are pitched to reach the top-edge destination. In baseball, the last pitch is just that — the last toss of the ball that could end the game. A huge baseball complex sits about 200 yards away in the park.

The Last Pitch

What: Open to the public, a bustling cafe offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, Blue Star coffee and espresso, craft beers, pastries — all with a view of climbers on the 50-foot-high walls.

Where: In the renovated, modernized barn building at Riverfront Rock Gym, 1319 Walla Walla Ave., Wenatchee. (Across the street from Town Toyota Center.)

When: Open 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

What’s good? Cafe Manager Josiah Bartel says everything’s good, but two items top the list of regulars’ favorites: The aforementioned Thai chicken wrap and the Hueco Tanks pizza, which adds some spiciness to your gym visit, as if dangling five stories from on a rope isn’t spicy enough.

Prices: $4.50 to $13

Info: Phone: 888-2427. Web: riverfrontrockgym.com and facebook.com/riverfrontrockgym/cafe.


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