Walking the Beat

At the Meetinghouse, the owner makes the rounds -- but leave your cell phone at home, please

Among the fanciful items on the dessert menu were two American stalwarts: a root beer float ($4.50) and a strawberry shortcake ($5.50), with house-made shortcake. Both were modestly perfect, and a reminder of a slightly simpler time, when restaurant owners still made a point of mingling with their patrons, and the cellular telephone hadn't yet elbowed its noxious way into the dinner hour.

The Meetinghouse, 1701 Octavia, S.F., 922-6733. Wed-Sun 5:30-9:30 p.m.

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