George Bullington, a jockey agent at Santa Anita Racetrack, and J.D. Dahlen tended bar together at the original Courtroom located on Herschel Avenue in La Jolla. George, known as “Bully” around the track, and Lester Holt, a thoroughbred horse trainer, opened Bully’s La Jolla in the Birdrock Area in 1967. Thus the name Bully’s and the racehorse logo. At that time he brought J.D. to manage the bar. The restaurant became an overnight success.
Bully’s took “prime rib” from banquets and Sunday buffets to a menu that offered it every day in various sized cuts cooked to your individual taste. Bullington, an innovator of late night dining, began serving dinner until 12:15 AM nightly. He was also the creator of the “Keoki Coffee.” Keoki meaning George, his namesake, in Hawaiian.
Bully’s success in La Jolla fueled their opening of Bully’s north in Del Mar in 1968. Timing is everything and in 1971 George, Lester and new partner, Frank Sanchez, brought J.D. to an A & W Root Beer stand in Mission Valley to become the managing partner of Bully’s East. Since then J.D., his wife Ginny and son Derek have become the sole proprietors of Bully’s East keeping the long-standing tradition of serving the best prime rib in town.
A San Diego tradition since 1971, Bully’s is known for superior quality, exceptional value and of course, friendly service! Bully’s features award-winning prime rib, fresh seafood, steaks, ribs, sandwiches and a children’s menu. Whether it is brunch, lunch or dinner served late, it’s sure to be a pleasurable dining experience.
Chef Luis Martinez
Chef Luis Martinez has cooked in Spain and completed his culinary degree in New York. No stranger to the San Diego dining scene, Chef Martinez grew up in Alpine working in various east county restaurants. He eventually co-founded Penfold’s in Temecula as their sous chef. After deciding to take his career to the next level, Chef Martinez graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2008 with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
During his time in New York, he worked with various high-end catering companies which catered to celebrities, such as Martha Stewart, Chevy Chase, Earth Wind and Fire and others. Martinez traveled to Spain during his schooling and worked at Via Veneto in Barcelona. After moving back to the states, he worked at the Downtown Convention Center, Elario’s Bistro, Sky Lounge and Romano’s Dodge House in Julian.
Chef Martinez has a simple cooking philosophy, which is to say that he literally likes things to be “simple.” Chef Luis doesn’t believe in “overwhelming – but rather maintaining the original flavors” in his food. His cooking brings the essence of each natural ingredient into the forefront of his dishes. Chef Martinez centralizes his flavors through inspiration from international cuisine, both traditional and contemporary.