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San Francisco’s hottest deli sells bagels for $250. Just don’t eat them

A row of bagels made out of felt stands on a shelf in front of a menu.
The delicious-looking (but inedible) felt bagels by artist Lucy Sparrow are on display at the Fog Design+Art fair at Fort Mason in San Francisco. | Source: Courtesy Nikki Ritcher

For three days only, San Franciscans can snag some of the most Instagrammable bagels around—just don’t try to eat them. 

Artist Lucy Sparrow’s New York-style deli is an all-felt smorgasbord on display at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, where the bagels are zero-carb but high-priced: A single bagel with up to eight toppings will set you back $250. 

But that hasn’t stopped crowds from lining up this week at Feltz Bagels at the Fog Design+Art Fair, where Sparrow’s deli found a home nestled between emerging artists on Pier 3. 

“There was a mad rush for bagels,” said Abby Margulies, Fog spokesperson. 

Coffee cups made of felt stand on a fake espresso machine.
Lucy Sparrow crafted New York City-style coffee cups for her Feltz Bagel art installation that is part of the FOG Art+Design fair at San Francisco's Fort Mason. | Source: Courtesy Lucy Sparrow

The Bay Area’s many Big Apple transplants suffering from nostalgia can fill up on felt while emptying their pockets. A loaf of challah? $60. A black-and-white cookie? $30. A cup of coffee in the trademark blue-and-white Greek motif? $50 (already sold out). 

The U.K. artist’s work has drawn global attention for its craftsmanship and attention to detail. Ever since she sewed her way into the art world in 2014 with her fully stocked Cornershop installation in London’s East End, Sparrow has been pushing the boundaries of felt possibility. 

When she opened a New York “bodega” stocked with 9,000 felted artworks in 2017, the installation looked like a pandemic-era grocery store, selling out of goods in just two weeks. 

A stand holds rows of bagels and other food items made out of felt.
British artist Lucy Sparrow crafts all of her deli and grocery items from felt. | Source: Courtesy Lucy Sparrow

The bodega’s success was followed by increasingly impressive sewing stunts: a fully felted grocery in Downtown Los Angeles in 2017; a completely stocked pharmacy in London in 2021; a 3,000-square-foot supermarket, Tampa Fresh Foods in Tampa, Florida, including 50,000 felt groceries, in 2022. 

Sparrow has also performed “live surgery” in her Triple Art Bypass at Miami’s Context art fair. Her Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Lunch was installed in Buckingham Palace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 70th year on the British throne.  

Fog Design+Art is celebrating its 10th anniversary as San Francisco’s preeminent international art fair, with this year’s highlights including an interactive digital tapestry by Indira Allegra, work by the fair’s first artist-in-residence José Figueroa and pop-ups by much-loved local outfits like Jane Café, Postscript specialty café and Park Life lifestyle store. New this year is Fog Focus, a platform drawing together nine exhibitors presenting solo booths by emerging artists, in addition to the 45 exhibitors returning to the Pier 3 space. 

Breakfast bagels made out of felt stand on a shelf.
British artist Lucy Sparrow's fully loaded, felted bagels can fetch as much as $250 a pop. | Source: Courtesy Lucy Sparrow

But if you want a custom bagel, be prepared to wait—they are hand-sewn on the spot by Sparrow. Capers, which are particularly time-consuming for the artist to sew, were a popular ingredient, and people waited in line for over an hour at Wednesday’s opening gala to secure their briny bagels. 

Fog Design+Art

📍 Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd. 
🗓️ Through Sunday
🔗 fogfair.com

Julie Zigoris can be reached at jzigoris@sfstandard.com