Columbia Falls bakery serves up handcrafted baked goods and coffee

Story by Justin Franz | Photography by Greg Lindstrom
For years, Terri Feury has toiled behind the scenes at her bakery in Columbia Falls. In 2000, Feury purchased a building on Nucleus Avenue and baked out of the back while renting the storefront to others. Feury found success selling croissants, breads and pastries at area stores and farmers markets, but she always wanted to take her business to the next level.

In 2016, with the opening of Uptown Hearth, she did just that. The microbakery and food studio in downtown Columbia Falls is now serving delectable baked goods during the week and hearty breakfasts on the weekend, alongside artisan coffees that are a significant step above your regular drip.

Feury got into baking by accident. In the 1980s, she was studying film at the University of Oregon when she spent a semester abroad in France. While there, she fell in love with the local bakeries and decided to shadow some of the bakers at night, learning their craft firsthand.

“I remember just thinking that this was something that would never bore me,” she said. “I just loved the craftsmanship and the artistry of it all.”

Feury finished school and then opened up a bagel shop in Whitefish. Through the late 1980s and 1990s, she baked at a number of local eateries and was part owner of a bed and breakfast. Then she purchased the downtown Columbia Falls location in 2000 and worked out of a kitchen in the back until last year, when she remodeled the entire space into Uptown Hearth.

Initially, Feury had hoped to host temporary pop-up restaurants and let others use the space, too, but her organic pastries quickly gained a following.

While many bakeries use extra yeast to get dough to rise quickly, Feury prefers an older method of baking that allows the dough to rise for two or three days.

“It might not be the most cost-effective way of doing things, but it’s delicious,” she said.

Jane Dalton, another baker at Uptown Hearth who has been making pastries for five years, said the longer process helps develop flavor and textures. One of her favorite items is the cream cheese and fresh berry pastry. Uptown Hearth takes three days to make this pastry: one day to make the dough and let it rise, another day to laminate the dough (a process in which it is thinly rolled out and then folded on itself to create layers of buttery dough), and a final day to bake it.

Another favorite of the crew at Uptown Hearth is the breakfast frittata with sausage, onion, peppers, and Parmesan cheese served with mixed greens.

Regardless of what you order, it will pair perfectly with coffee from Matthew Bussard at Azul Coffee Bar, also located in Uptown Hearth. Bussard said there’s been a movement in recent years to make coffee with the same culinary quality as one would make wine.

“I want to create a very personal and handcrafted experience,” Bussard said. “And that pairs really well with what Terri is doing.”