Katz Bagels sign

After 27 years, Katz Bagels on 16th and Albion streets will close its doors on March 24. 

“Goodbye San Francisco,” says a note taped the shop’s window. “While recent times have been challenging, we can only be grateful for all the support we have received through the years.” 

That means no more affordable New York-style bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches — sometimes on the go, sometimes sitting in the shop, listening to jazz and watching the life of 16th Street through its large windows. 

No one signed the note in Katz’s window, but it was all but certainly penned by Michael Katz, the bagel shop’s owner. He thanked his father, Burt, for his “amazing portraits that adorned these walls for so many years” and his mother “for listening to me during these complicated times.” 

Katz thanked his loyal employees and the “kind, polite, humane people that made this such a special neighborhood.” He also looked back to the 1990s — “for being such a great place for small business.” 

The shop, indeed, was opened in 1993 by Michael’s father, Burt. As Mission Local wrote much later, in 2008, Katz in the ‘90s was a staple destination for the neighborhood’s “construction workers, day laborers, painters and folks heading to the 16th Street BART drop in to grab a cup of coffee or tea and a freshly made bagel.” 

Yet as the neighborhood changed — and the price of wheat rose, killing Katz’s wholesale business — Katz had to continually reinvent itself. It experimented with pizza for a time starting in 2008, but eventually went back to making only bagels. 

More recently, a bad health inspection hobbled the business, causing it to shut down for several days. And a couple of months ago, the shop’s front door window was shattered. Katz never replaced it — and perhaps now we know why. 

Mission Local could not reach the owner for comment. We called every Michael Katz registered to vote in San Francisco County. One of them politely said he was not the owner, but exclaimed that owning a bagel shop sounded like a “dream.” 

“Maybe in another life,” he said. 

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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9 Comments

  1. I went in there on Friday. It was obvious it was over. I got my last #5 with bacon.

    Unfortunately too many coffee shops are carrying bunk bagels these days.

    That was a good run — lower Haight too. Thanks Katz!

  2. Good riddance to some of the worst bagels on the planet.

    Haven’t eaten there since the shortly after it opened.

    1. Hi Marcos

      I am sorry to hear that. Our first wholesale account was The Fairmont Hotel. Next was the Ritz Carlton. Next was Rainbow Grocery. Next was Moscone convention center. That’s pretty good don’t you think?

  3. I used to Work in Katz Bagels in 1996. I have such fond memories of the place, I was the job where I couldn’t have been happier, so many lovely work mates and friendly open customers. I am so sorry to here about it close down. Having lived in Ireland since I returned one day last September but unfortunately it was closed on that day.
    Thank you Michael Katz, for the fabulous bagels and variety of cream cheeses, and for contributing to such a lovely work culture and living environment in the Mission at that time.

    1. Hi Clara

      This is Michael. Very nice to hear from you. You were very memorable to me because of your sweetness and the way you spoke. You were very memorable to me. I think you only worked there for a year but I remember you very well.

  4. So sad to see this part of SF go. Like Pauline’s, Lucca Deli, and Real Food Co. and so many others. Thanks for the great bagels, kind staff, and inspirational photographs that reflected all of us. You will be missed and always remembered.

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