How crazy is bargain-mania?
Try a half-off laser eye surgery.
photo/Ronald Holden
¦ Steelhead Diner’s Kevin Davis, with his vegetarian lasagna.

. FOOD MATTERS, from Page 11

closed the flagship McCormick's in downtown Portland last year when it couldn't come to terms on a lease.

Now that he's absorbed the venerable Northwest institution into his private empire, Fertitta says he'll rebrand some of the McCormick & Schmick’s stores.

Ironically, the McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside on South Lake Union has just undergone a complete renovation and rebranding. Fertitta wasted no time, in any event, making changes. Before the week was out, he fired co-founder McCormick and closed nine restaurants.

You can do what you want with most of them, Bubba, but you better not mess with Jake's. Ya hear?

Comings and goings

Over in West Seattle, longtime favorite Spring Hill is changing its name to Ma'Ono and refocusing its menu on all things Hawaiian, with its famous fried chicken served every night.

In Magnolia, Seattle Pie Co. says it’s closing its bakery on West McGraw Street to move to South Lake Union.

Dish It Up is also closing its Magnolia location; the Ballard Avenue store remains open.

A naming issue in the works? The Mexican restaurant called Tenoch, in a house on Queen Anne Avenue, has been renamed Five Fins. That might present a problem for the folks at Five Fish Bistro on Capitol Hill's Broadway.

And, as it happens, Eat Local, the frozen-takeout shop across from Tenoch, is opening a second store on Broadway.

In the meantime, a round of openings: In the space that once housed Shallot's Asian Bistro is a dinner house called Henry & Oscar's, from the folks who own The Big Picture movie theater.

Also in Belltown, Mestizo Tequila Ultra Lounge (there's a mouthful) moves into the space vacated by Twist Lounge.

Amber Den opens in Ballard, as do Kangaroo & Kiwi (in the old Carnegie Library) and Bitterroot BBQ on Ballard Avenue.

Back on Capitol Hill, Rosebud will become St. John's, and Heather Earnhart, known for her baked goods at Volunteer Park Cafe, is partnering with Ethan Stowell to open Wandering Goose on 15th Avenue East.

Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market celebrates a milestone anniversary: It is 5 years old.

Chef changes: Danielle Custer — who has cooked at The Herbfarm and other prestigious spots, most recently running the kitchen at Taste in the Seattle Art Museum — is making the move to mobile: a grilled cheese truck is in the works.

Mackay Restaurants veteran Steve Cain replaces Peter Levine as executive chef at the renamed AQUA by El Gaucho.

More for your money

How many diners would go to a restaurant with the express purpose of putting it out of business? Leave that to the health department's inspector, with her instant-read thermometer, and God help the chef if the surface of that strip steak in the walk-in is even half a degree above 42.

But walk into a joint waving a 50-percent Groupon and you're holding a gun to the owner's head. Worse, make your reservation on Open Table so that the first $10 you spend gets swiped by outsiders.

Or try Restaurant.com'scoupon that

you bought for a 10-spot. Just run up a $35 tab, and the store has to give you $25 of that for free.

Here's how crazy things have become: a Living Social "deal" for half-off laser eye surgery. If you can't see straight, do you really want some cut-rate quack to aim high-powered electrons at your eyeballs?

Barnaby Dorfman, co-founder with his wife, Sheri Wetherall, of Foodista.com,says the bargain hunters have it backward. The question to ask, he says, should be, "I want to pay you more. What could you do for me if I paid you more?"

RONALD HOLDEN is a restaurant writer who blogs at Cornichon.org.