Open 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5:30 through 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday: noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Lunch, to be announced. Available to handicapped. All major credit cards accepted. Reservations taken but not necessary. Phone 751-8646.

You can see the Rafters' lighted signs atop the shingled, many-roofed building from way down Little River Turnpike. We had seen the restaurant a-building from the Landmark Shopping Center for several months and went there just a week or so after after its official opening.

The unusual building has siding of exposed wood arranged in decorative designs and numerous bay windows. Every window is topped with a wide display of leaded, tinted glass.

A large restaurant, holding close to 300 people, Rafters is divided into seven rooms of varying sizes that eliminate any feeling of over-crowding. The many small rooms, each with separate ceiling, account for the many roof levels.

We were ushered into one of the smallest rooms. It held only six tables, and was decorated with lavish hanging plants, 19th century memorabilia, a plethora of gas-light style fixtures, and lovely pewter serving pieces on polished wood tables.

On a tour of the restaurant later, we found several larger rooms, including a rectangular balcony for nearly 100 guests. We also saw children at a number of tables, although no special provisions are made for them.

Our order was taken immediately by an accomdodating waiter. Scanning the offerings, we were pleased to see that a few unusual items were available. One of them, which I decided on prompty, was the steak and chicken, a unique combination of a charcoal broiled steak paired with a superblymarinated boneless breast of chicken. At $6.95, I recommend it whole heartedly.

Also, there was a steak and scallops combination for $8.45, and this was my husband's choice. Although his steak was succulent and tender, he found the scallops generally wanting in flavor.

Another unusual feature of the Rafters is the first course, a soup that goes with the price of the entree.

A big kettle of soup, which varies from day to day, is placed on the table and you ladle it out yourself. We had vegetable beef, a hearty full-bodied soup with large chunks of beef and vegetables, and the kettle vielded two bowlfuls of soup each.

Next a large tossed salad was brought to our table. We had happily chosen the house dressing, oil and mustard, a treat with a special piquante flavor.

The entrees came next, with our steaks served on a bed of savory rice, and a broiled pineapple slice atop my chicken. In addition, both our plates had half a peach on a bed of romaine.

The Rafters also offers entrees rangiong in price from scallops at $6.45 through halibut at $6.95, steak gourmet at $7.85 and on to steak and lobster at a thumping $10.95.

A wine list was available as well as dessert including cheese cake or rum-flavored chocolate silk pie, each at $1.25. We settled for coffee, 50 cents, and felt that we had feasted sufficiently for one evening. Our bill was $17.06 including tax but not tip.