Hours: Open all year. Beginning Memorial Day weekend from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Until 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Atmosphere: Old-time reliability.

Price range: Dinners from $4.95 for fried clams to $14.95 for stuffed lobster tails. There are specialties of the day, and prices may vary slightly from the regular menu.

Reservations: No.

Credit cards: MasterCard and Visa.

Special features: High chairs and booster seats. Entrance accessible to the handicapped. Three separate dining rooms.

Memorial Day weekend, which this year is being celebrated a week before Memorial Day, is the traditional beginning of the summer season at the beach.

One of the most popular ocean resorts with Washington area residents is Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and one of the most popular dining spots there is The Avenue, which is on the main street of this small town.

Late last month, we make a preview visit to Rohoboth Beach, and while we were there decided to stop at The Avenue.

At 6 p.m. the day we were there, a line already had formed outside this restaurant, which seems to be a favorite of beachgoers and locals alike. Our waitress told us her own family has been dining there for well over 20 years.

If you are expecting elegance and creative cooking, go back to your beach blanket. The Avenue is a family-operated enterprise that specializes in good, plain fare at prices you wish you could find in Washington.

The atmosphere reflects the idea behind the restaurant -- tables and booths, lit by candles and chandeliers. As with most other resorts restaurants, the appropriate attire is casual.

The dinner menu leaves out little -- a variety of seafood (freshly caught or bought from nearby fishsellers), several chicken and beef dishes, specialities of the day and a children's menu. All portions, including those for children, are very generous.

Adult dinners start with soup or juice (or for an extra $2.25, cherrystone clams on the half shell) and include all the stops, right up to your favorite dessert.

My husband and I started with soup. The vegetable soup was vegetable soup was particularly good and brimming with vegetables. The Manhattan clam chowder, on the other hand, was only mildly red, watery and bland.

Somewhere after the soup, but before the entrees, salads arrived to fulfill any momentary hunger pangs. Then with full gusto, the entrees were served, complete with homemade rolls.

Since duck was in season, it was a special of the evening. My husband selected the one-half roast duckling ($6.95) but could have been well satisfied with the one-quarter portion ($5.75). The plate could barely hold the duck, which came with stuffing and swimming in gravy.

I selected the broiled chicken livers ($4.95) for the bargain of the week. They had been under the broiler a second too long, but were still the ultimate in freshness.

Dinners on the children's menu include two vegetables, a beverage and a dessert, and range from $2.75 for fried clams to $4.25 for a rib steak or fried shrimp.

Our daughter had fried chicken ($3.50), which was moist and lightly breaded. Her generous portion, however, seemed more attuned to adult appetites that to children's.

Our son selected tenderloin tips ($7.95), which arrived with a zesty mushroom sauce. They came medium rare, but no squeamish sounds emanated from our son's otherwise "medium" tastebuds.

Do not leave without sampling one of The Avenue's homemade desserts. The banana cream pie leaves no doubt you are dealing with large quantities of bananas. And the key lime pie should be sampled by everyone as an example of just how this dessert should taste.

When you have eaten the last sandy dinner you can handle and still are left with that salty- air appetite, The Avenue is the perfect vacation cure.

Now we know why the crowds line up outside. When was the last time your family of four dined on complete dinners for $25, including a half carafe of wine?