Hamdi 'Bruno' Ugur
Owner & General Manager
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.