A hole that formed in part of the sidewalk in front of Ahmad's Persian Cuisine caused the business to temporarily close in Omaha's Old Market district. 

Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine has been forced to temporarily close after part of the sidewalk in front of the business caved in, opening a hole in the basement’s ceiling.

The owner, Ahmad Nazar, was in the kitchen of the restaurant at 10th and Howard Streets when he heard a crash at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday and discovered that he could see into his basement through the opening in the sidewalk.

“I heard a big noise,” Nazar said. “I came outside and noticed the beams under the sidewalk collapsed. It caved in.”

Incidents like this involving sidewalks over basements downtown happen at least once a year, said construction engineer Michael Kleffner of the Omaha Public Works Department. They are caused by wear and tear, he said.

“There’s nothing really underneath supporting them, except maybe some beams,” Kleffner said, “so the concrete itself wears over time, and when it finally gives, it’ll cave in to the basements below.”

Kleffner said repairs will be the responsibility of Mercer Management, which manages the property. Mercer was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Nazar found himself canceling reservations on Saturday, instead of preparing for what he had hoped would be a busy holiday week. New Year’s Eve “is a big night for us,” Nazar said. “But unfortunately, that happened ... and it forced me to close.”

He said he’s unsure when he’ll be able to reopen.

Some other Old Market business owners created a GoFundMe to help Nazar while the restaurant is closed.

“They care about me, and I care about them, too,” Nazar said.

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