By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s a case of small business versus government bureaucracy.

A decades-old Sacramento barbecue business could go belly up after the county claims it “erroneously” approved its business permit years ago. Now the owner says he’s feeling burned.

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Hank Virga’s business is more than just meat and heat.

“Well you know when people come here they’re awed,” Virga said. “I bartered for everything you see here.”

He’s run Hickory Hanks for years, building a commercial kitchen for catering and take-out behind his home where he’s also built an extreme swimming pool and a massive duck pond.

“Blood, sweat and tears, yes,” Virga said.

Now Sacramento County planners could close him down.

“Devastating,” Virga said. “Yes for me, and well, the people that work for me, my family.”

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Sacramento County has denied his business license renewal, sending Virga a letter explaining the original license for this business was “erroneously” approved years ago.

A spokesperson for Sacramento County released a statement reading in part: “Restaurants are not allowed in agricultural-residential zones. We are working with Mr. Virga’s representative on options so that he can make an informed decision on how to proceed.”

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“It’s well, sleepless nights, a lot of frustration, what’s going to happen,” Virga said.

A beef between this barbecue owner and Sacramento County.

“It feels like, you know, government coming after the little guy,” Virga said.

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Searing uncertainly into his bottom line. Virga added that Sacramento County’s decision to deny his business license renewal also prevents him from applying for any COVID business relief.