Hamdi Ugur, who is also lovingly known as “Bruno” to guests of his restaurant, Porterhouse San Mateo, serves as a shining example of how hard work, honesty, and taking risks can make the 'American Dream' a reality. As a first-generation immigrant to the United States, Bruno arrived in San Mateo, CA in 1982 and started his journey by working as a dishwasher. Driven by his dream of owning a restaurant one day, he took on two additional restaurant jobs, eagerly immersing himself in the language and the intricacies of the business.
In 1987, when Bruno’s wife was pregnant, he took a leap of faith and bought the restaurant where he was working as a dishwasher, Bogies. Bogies was an upscale French restaurant that catered to politicians, actresses, and football players. Bruno quickly made a name for himself at Bogies, where he earned his nickname by wowing guests with his table-side preparation of Bananas Foster, Crepe Suzette, and Cherries Jubilee. The high flames and unforgettable flavors left guests in awe.
Bruno's success continued to grow, and he went on to open Spiedo Restaurant, an Italian restaurant just two blocks away from Bogies. This move solidified his position as the “Restaurateur of San Mateo”.
Amid a recession in 2007, Hamdi took a daring step by transforming his establishment Bogies into Porterhouse, a contemporary steakhouse with a French twist - precisely what the city of San Mateo needed. In 2012, Hamdi’s son, Steve Ugur, who is now the Director of Butchering, introduced the art of dry aging to Porterhouse, making it the only restaurant in the Peninsula to dry age steaks in-house. As a result, Porterhouse quickly became famous for their dry-aged steaks, hospitable team, excellent wine list, and extensive bourbon collection.
In 2022, after operating in San Mateo for 35 years, Bruno decided to relocate his restaurant. In tribute to Bogies, he adorned Porterhouse with the original film billboards that he had kept from famous stars such as Humphry Bogart, Clark Gable, and Audrey Hepburn. This thoughtful gesture paid homage to the restaurant's history and celebrated the golden age of Hollywood, bringing a touch of glamour and nostalgia to the new location.
Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his life, Bruno never gave up and persisted by working hard and taking risks. He was always destined to be a restaurateur, and he thrives on providing exceptional customer service, consistent food, and a welcoming environment for people to gather with loved ones. Bruno takes great pleasure in sharing the Porterhouse experience with all his guests and looks forward to creating memorable dining experiences for them.
A San Mateo native, Steve Ugur grew up in the restaurant business working in his family’s establishments for as long as he can remember. Ugur is the co-founder and co-owner of Pausa Bar & Cookery Pausa Bar & Cookery, a 5-time Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient. Prior to Pausa, throughout both High School and College, Ugur played a major role at the original Porterhouse location, leading the front-of-house team before eventually introducing and leading a dry aging program in 2013. During his tenure, Ugur refined his own customer service skills and instilled a passion for the hospitality business into his employees throughout the years.
In 2013 Ugur made his first real foray into the back of house by giving into his curiosity about butchering and charcuterie by completing a stage at Harris Steakhouse in San Francisco. The art of dry aging beef at Harris inspired him to introduce a similar program at Porterhouse with the addition of grass fed and finished beef from local ranches in Northern California. Between 2014 and 2015 he traveled twice to France to stage with award-winning butcher Pierre Sajous in the mid-Pyrenees. Upon his return, he continued to lead the team at Porterhouse as the only restaurant with a dry aging program on the Peninsula.
Even while co-founding and operating Pausa Bar & Cookery in downtown San Mateo since 2016, he was ever-present in the dry aging program at Porterhouse. From sourcing the highest quality beef cuts from different Mid-West stockyards to local California ranches, Ugur looks forward to providing a full array of corn/grain fed beef, American Wagyu, as well as grass fed beef to the new loa. What makes these steak offerings at Porterhouse unique is they are all dry aged in house and that is
At Porterhouse’s new location on B Street in San Mateo, Ugur will continue to use his well-rounded experience to build a team with the same desire to exceed guest expectations both in the front and back of house in addition to developing a menu of mouth-watering steaks.
He looks forward to sharing the Porterhouse experience with San Mateo and the surrounding Bay Area.
Chef Ajvix’s culinary curiosity began at 10 years old when he would watch his mother and grandmother prepare feasts that would bring the family together every Sunday evening. He soon found himself constantly in the kitchen learning traditional family recipes while his cousin’s played soccer in the yard. At a young age, Ajvix realized he wanted to turn his hobby and love for cooking into a career.
Ajvix attended City College of San Francisco’s Culinary School where he credits the great teachers who he had the pleasure of learning from. Ajvix spent his weekends in the kitchens and getting together with classmates to put their craftsmanship to work by creating and tasting new recipes.
After graduating, Ajvix began working at Madera, a Michelin restaurant located in the Rosewood Hotel. At Madera, Ajvix learned the disciplines of working in a Michelin restaurant and worked alongside Michelin chef where he put the skills he learned in school to practice.
In 2010, Ajvix joined the team at Porterhouse so he can practice his true passion, grilling steaks. His passion for food and attention to detail is evident in every dish he creates and serves. Ajvix looks forward to serving you at Porterhouse.