Atmosphere: Gingham curtain and old wood wonderful.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch; 5:30 to 10:30 for dinner, 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., pizza only; Sundays, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Price Range: $2.25 to $6.95 for entrees.

Reservations: For large parties only.

Credit Cards: Mastercharge and Visa.

Special Facilities: Door steps made access difficult for the handicapped; booster cushions and high chairs for youngsters.

Colonel Brooks' Tavern named after a 19th century resident of the area, is just what Brookmont needed: a friendly, modestly priced, attractive place to quench the thirst and satisfy the hunger of collegiates and professors from Catholic University, nurses and doctors from nearby hospitals, and the families who live in the neat row houses that line the streets.

When we arrived at 7 o'clock on a Thursday evening, it was clear that the neighborhood had already heard about its new place. The bar was jammed and noisy and most of the tables in the restaurant were filled. Our party of nine -- 5 children, 4 adults -- waited half an hour for a table. (Had we been the more usual four or five, the wait would have been shorter.)

The dining room on the main floor has big bay windows covered with gingham cafe curtains. The wood floors are stained dark and old-timey dull. The mood is turn-of-the-century without ornate moldings and heavy woods. Upstairs there is a quieter dining area, also neatly and nicely designed.

Our waiting time also gave us the chance to eyeball trays of food as they emerged from the kitchen. The salads looked wonderfully crisp, the pizza oozed with cheeze, the ribs were thick and meaty. It was no wonder, then, that when we finally took our seats and glanced at the menu, five of us wanted ribs with a salad on the side.

An entree of ribs, $5.95, comes with five ribs to the order plus a two-out-of-three choice of salad, potatoes or vegetable. A basket of ribs, listed under "snacks" on the menu, was $3.25. Two of the children, for whom salads and vegetables held no allure, opted for the basket of ribs and found themselves overwhelmed by the generous portion.

We started out by sharing two other snack listings: pototo skins with sour cream sauce, $1.95, and nachos, $2.25. The potato skins were wonderful -- deep fried, with plenty of potato left on them. They were gobbled up before they could be passed around for seconds. The nachos, on the other hand, went begging. They were so inundated by jalapeno peppers they left us panting.

Those of us who did not opt for ribs had plenty of other choices. The "sandwich" section offered, among others, a farmer's daughter, $2.25 (vegetables, alfalfa sprouts and melted cheese), curried chicken salad, $2.75 and stromboli, $3.75 for a whole, $1.75 for a half sandwich. Our daughter ordered the half sandwhich consisting of sausage, green peppers, onions and melted cheese and found it delicious and more than enough to eat.

The menu also offers, regular cheese, bacon and avacado burgers for $3.75 to $3.95. The pizza division leads off with medium and large pizzas at $3.95 and $4.95.

Over in the entree department I was drawn to cardinal's chicken, $4.95 (marinated, char-broiled chicken), but our waitress said it wasn't available. I tried the Delmonico steak sandwich, $5.25, which was pleasant but lacked pizzazz. The accompanying salad with house dressing was superb, as was the squash, the vegetable of the day.

As to the ribs, everybody agreed they were winners. The adults wished the kitchen had cut them into individual ribs, rather than serving them in slabs of two and three.

For desert, by husband and I shared walnut pie, $1.95, a delightful variation on pecan pie. Our children split chocolate mousse cake, $1.95, which they claimed was too good and not big enough to share.

The bill for our family of four, which included wine, beer and a round of soft drinks, our share of the appetizers, four main courses and two desserts, came to $31.95. Tax and tip brought it up to $38.85.