The Inn Between has the perfect name. It's staked out a nice spot between a charming watering hole and a kitchen filled with home-cooked comfort food - quite a feat for a bar ensconced in the ground floor of a concrete parking garage.

The Inn Between has the perfect name. It's staked out a nice spot between a charming watering hole and a kitchen filled with home-cooked comfort food - quite a feat for a bar ensconced in the ground floor of a concrete parking garage.

For more than 25 years, owner Ali Reda has been the driving force behind this Downtown fixture. He first opened the Inn Between in Lynn Alley in 1982, moving to East Broad in 1985 and then selling it in 2001. A year later, Reda reopened at the current location because he couldn't stand the monotony of retirement.

"I need to do something," said Reda. "I like to work. I need to get up in the morning and have a place to go."

The Inn Between's current setting has a nostalgic vibe with its hefty wood-paneled booths and retro jukebox. You won't find some electronic contraption with Top 40 hits - only classic rock, country and Reda's favorite Frank Sinatra albums.

At lunchtime, the Inn packs them in with daily specials and a menu of popular standards: salads, sandwiches and hearty platters. Every Friday, there's perch with fries ($7.50) and seating is at a premium.

The most popular special is the Hot Shot ($7), an open-faced sandwich of roast beef or turkey topped with mashed potatoes and green beans, so there's a bit of everything in each bite.

The Rumplemeyer ($8) - homemade chicken salad topped with bacon, lettuce and tomato - and the Classic Cheeseburger ($7.50) are top sellers on the lunch menu. At 2 p.m., the lineup expands to offer appetizers like wings, potato skins and chicken tenders.

Reda's personal special is Mediterranean night, the first Monday of every month. He showcases his Lebanese recipes for tabouli, baba ganoush, stuffed grape leaves and fattoush.

After The Inn's done slinging hot lunches, it makes an ideal happy-hour stop for Downtowners. It's also a favorite spot for politicians, like Gov. Ted Strickland, who often stops by for a bite.

The Inn pairs 16-ounce Bud Light drafts ($2.50) and 20-ounce Stella, Blue Moon and Columbus Pale Ale ($5) with an ample selection of domestic ($3) and import ($4) bottles. All drinks are 50 cents off during happy hour.

For all its charm, the Inn's finest quality is Reda's personal touch. "I'm here 12 hours a day, five days a week," he said. "It is a second home. If you don't take care of it, it won't take care of you."