Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday until 3 a.m.

Atmosphere: Informal.

Price range: Plain pizzas from $5.25; combination special from $6.95. Sandwiches $2.50 to $4.25.

Reservations: No.

Credit cards: American Express, MasterCard and Visa.

Special features: Mondays are half-price pizza nights. Cocktail lounge serves free pizza between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Booster seats. Ramped entrance.

What a relief to walk into a restaurant on a rainy night and see every table filled with families and young children. Right away, you feel part of the party.

Maggie's is that kind of place. Informality prevails among lots of people who know a good deal when it comes to pizza.

From the street Maggie's has a new look, now that its enclosed sidewalk cafe, covered with a bright awning, is ready for year-round use. In the candlelight glow, one quickly forgets that the restaurant is on one of the city's busiest streets.

The cocktail lounge has some tabletop video games and more arcade games are in the main dining room. Consequently, quarter-clutching children are all over the place. No one seems to mind.

All the help is friendly and young. There are no pretensions of formality, just attempts at taking orders and properly filling unusual requests.

As you seek your table, you notice the real centerpiece on the others: gargantuan trays filled with pizza. Later, you discover that these pies taste as good as they look.

As at any good pizza restaurant worth its cheese, there are alternatives. The hamburger was a large grilled beauty; the spaghetti filled a gigantic bowl. There are also heroes, salads, sandwiches and white pizza.

The large, single-topping pizza ($8.50) is a delight to behold: a high-rise pizza made from dough that seems to continue rising even after baking, it can easily turn you into a crust enthusiast.

The tomato sauce is well seasoned and there is a hearty cheese topping that floats on the upper crust. The initiated know that the "kitchen sink," with three toppings, is a good buy at $9.95.

Spaghetti with meat sauce ($4.95) comes with a good-sized salad with cucumber and tomato and an order of Italian bread. Two children could easily enjoy this dish with its chili-inspired meat sauce.

Our son started with a plain burger and asked for fried onions and mushrooms, lettuce and tomato ($3.45). The waitress carefully checked the order and showed him that everything was in place. The hamburger itself was large and perfectly grilled to order.

One can tell that the staff is used to serving children. They prove how simple it is for a restaurant to be friendly and attentive to its customers.

At Maggie's, bar drinks are reasonable, portions are large and of good quality, and everyone feels comfortable. The night we were there no desserts were available, so ordering was quite simple.

There's something soothing about a good old-fashioned casual restaurant that has developed its own pizza personality. Service is fast; prices are low and the atmosphere is relaxed--a combination that families can appreciate.

Our outing for four cost $23.70, including tax, tip, sodas and beer. If we'd all ordered pizza it would probably have cost $15.