Lake City Bakery featured in ‘Baked by Grace’ documentary
POLSON — Local filmmakers David and Jessica King of the FLIC Film Festival have a new documentary premiering May 13. “Baked by Grace,” tells the story about the folks who make Polson’s Lake City Bakery so special.
The idea came to the couple after a particularly good experience at the bakery one summer. Jessica described how, even with the packed dining room and a long line at the counter, employee Damian Innerbichler didn’t miss a beat when he walked in the front door.
“Before the door even closed behind him, he was greeting the first person in line … It was almost like it fueled him to be excited and happy,” Jessica said. While it can be easy to get frustrated in a line like that, Jessica instead was pleasantly surprised. Innerbichler moved through the line efficiently, showering each waiting customer with positivity and joy.
The experience led the Kings to return more frequently, as they said they quickly realized it’s a special place. What they originally thought would be a short documentary expanded into an hour-long film as they peeled back the bakery’s layers and got to know the people inside.
The Lake City Bakery has been owned by Mike and Deneya Humphrey for the last six years, but run by their family for 52. Both of them came from a difficult past of grappling with addiction.
Mike’s mother, who previously ran the restaurant, had ended up hiring Deneya as a cook around 30 years ago, before eventually inviting her to church. “From that first visit, Deneya embraced Jesus Christ as her savior,” David said. Eventually convincing Mike to join her for the sake of their son, they both ended up fully embracing their faith and recovery.
According to David, it became clear while filming that the Humphreys have a deep relationship with God. “They start some days praying together,” he said. “They view that restaurant as God’s little donut shop.”
Many of the bakery’s employees have come from difficult pasts, the Kings explained. The Humphreys view it as an opportunity to help people integrate back into society.
“I love the atmosphere here,” Innerbichler stated. “One of the things my boss has really cultivated is a family.”
“Damian’s become like one of my children, and we’ve just hired a couple of new people. Both of them are in recovery and both of them have had changes in their life,” Deneya said. “We just love all the customers that come in here, and getting to know them, and them becoming part of our family... I’ve watched mothers being pregnant and now their kids have graduated high school or graduated college. It’s just been a good experience.”
Plenty of regulars visit the bakery daily - from Russel, a local man who is deaf and teaching the staff sign language through conversation, to the “local coffee guys” who show up for a brew before the open sign is even on in the morning.
“We love our customers. If it wasn’t for them, none of us would be here,” Mike said.
Mike goes in every morning at 3 a.m., down into the bakery’s cavernous basement to make all the day’s treats from scratch. A third-generation scratch baker, Mike takes immense pride in his work, and has plenty of freshly baked goods ready to go by the time their early morning regulars arrive. He also makes sure to set aside an unfrosted buttermilk bar for his wife, just how she likes it, every morning.
The whole documentary ended up coming together in just two or three months, the Kings said, and has already been entered in over 20 film festivals.
“It’s kind of a neat look into what it takes to make it happen, but more than just logistics. It’s the heart,” Jessica stated. “It’s really not about donuts or food, but the heart these customers have for Mike and Deneya, and the love Mike and Deneya show to their customers and staff and the rest of the community.”
The Kings and Humphreys bonded during the project, each couple describing the other as family. Through their filming and the friendships they’ve made, the Kings have now become part of the bakery’s story too.
“They did a really good job,” Mike praised.
“Baked by Grace” will be shown in Polson at the Showboat Theatre from Friday, May 13 to Thursday, May 19. It’ll premiere at 4 p.m. Members of the restaurant family will be there for a Q&A and celebration of the bakery.
The entire theatrical run will also feature subtitles so Russel can go see it whenever he wants, David added.
“I’m looking forward to seeing (the film) and crying,” Innerbichler laughed. The personal stories and themes of redemption and hope shared by him and the rest of the staff had him crying during the filming as well, he explained.
“All of us have (gone) through adversity, even the self-inflicted drugs and stuff, but there’s always hope. Even if it’s coming in and having a donut and seeing good people and that puts a smile on your face,” Mike commented.
Deneya agreed, adding, “I hope to see a lot of people changing their lives from addiction to recovery. For this bakery, I want to see people change, and I want to see people have hope.”