Popular CBD restaurant Indian Mehfil, which is owned by Ipswich City Council and operated by Rajesh Sharma, will close its doors for about eight weeks for structural repairs.
Indian Mehfil, located in D’Arcy Doyle Place, will close after trading on Sunday night as work begins to repair an area of the floor of the circa 1860 building.
“Ipswich City Council has been working closely with Indian Mehfil on this matter,” a spokesman for council property services said.
“There are structural issues with the kitchen sub-floor that need to be repaired and rectified by council as owner of the asset.
“Work will begin on 17 February and is expected to take eight weeks.
“The work requires the removal of the entire floor in the kitchen and then replaced.
“This is a delicate process as this is a heritage building and an important part of Ipswich’s history which needs to be preserved. As it is a state heritage-listed building, council is legislatively required to preserve and protect the structure.”
Council could not comment on compensation as it is commercial-in-confidence.
“Although the restaurant will be shut down for a period, it will reopen and Indian Mehfil will continue to trade under its lease.”
Mr Sharma said while disappointed to close the doors, as it impacted his family, 30 staff and loyal customers, he acknowledged it was necessary work.
“Hopefully both council and myself can reduce the time frame, but it has to be done,” he said.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. The building will be secure and we will not have these ongoing issues with the flooring.”
He also thanked council for constructive discussions and support through this process.
Mr Sharma, who had held the lease for 10 years at the eatery opposite the redeveloped Nicholas Street mall, said the restaurant would be “up and running” as soon as possible and would benefit by council’s major improvements in the CBD.
He said staff would be supported and Ipswich customers who travelled to the two other Indian Mehfil restaurants in Brisbane would be given a 25 per cent discount on their meals.