He can always pursue you in civil law
In a pay-at-the-end restaurant, a debt is created when they deliver the food. They have the full range of civil law available to pursue you for that debt, including court, garnishments, etc.
The debt is persistent, and does not clear when you walk out of the restaurant. It clears when the Statute of Limitations is reached, typically 6 years.
It only becomes criminal with intent to not pay
If you are putting any effort into creating this situation. E.g. Frequenting a restaurant where you heard the machine was down, that is fraud, and that is criminal. That means police, jail, etc.
A pattern of behavior that convinces a jury you are doing it on purpose would suffice.
An example of that might be when a mob of people show up, run up a big bill, one of them surreptitiously breaks the card machine, then they all go to pay. Mysteriously, none of them have any cash, and resist other ways of paying by card... and then the same thing happens at another restaurant the next Saturday, and another, etc. etc.
Obviously, actually paying nullifies any intent to not pay. However this only works if you pay timely. If you are charged criminally and then settle up with each restaurant, it's too late.
Faulty premise: Credit cards aren't interactive (necessarily)
You are presuming that credit card transactions can only be run interactively. That is not true, and I'm not sure where you got that, other than that they're usually run interactively.
Your duty is to present your card, signature, and good word... And not obstruct whatever technology they might use, such as swipe, PIN, chip-insert or NFC. How they turn that into a transaction is between them and their acquirer. (The acquirer is the bank they deal with to gain access to the credit card system.)
The acquirer charges them different rates for different authentication methods: chip vs swipe vs keyed-in numbers.
Classically, a store would dust off their old "Chi-CHUNK" imprinter. The components were card number, expiry, your name, the fact that they were imprinted, and your signature. The text you are signing says "I agree to be responsible for this charge" etc. No interactivity; no "decline". However, acquirers no longer want stacks of slips mailed to them, so they would expect the retailer to key in the numbers on a PCI-DSS compliant terminal when internet service is restored.
I have also seen retailers use the old chi-chunk slips, but simply hand write the numbers in. The relevant part there is you are still signing the "I agree to pay". That is proof that the retailer is acting correctly when entering a manual charge.
Other businesses cook up their own similar forms where the card data is hand written and the user signs.
This handwritten slip and signature process is not dependent on any particular acquirer. They can sign up with any acquirer and run your transactions later. PayPal comes to mind.