Diners, ditch your cellphone at dinner

When you pick up the menu, put down the cellphone.

That’s the message from restaurant patrons in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, who told the most recent Zagat Survey that they think it’s rude to text, tweet, check e-mail or talk on cellphones during a meal.

It may not matter. Tim Zagat, who founded the survey with his wife, Nina, said the presence — and use — of phones at the table is part of the changing culture of restaurants, like T-shirts instead of coats and ties. And though a few restaurants have rules against talking on cellphones, none regulate texting.

“You’re not going to tell a young person not to text at a meal,” he said in a telephone interview. “And if you do, you’re likely to lose a client for life.”

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