(NOTE: Nick in the Morning will be absent Monday, the result of another assignment. Consider it a three-day weekend for yourselves. See you again bright and early Tuesday.)

Good morning, troops. It's Friday, Dec. 7.

What once housed the Peoria outlet of the Smashburger restaurant chain now will offer not-quite-as-smashed burgers. And a lot of other things.

Pre-Game Pub & Grill opened Dec. 1 in the Metro Centre shopping area, 4712 N. University St. The sports-themed restaurant is owned by Jim and Michelle Anderson, a married couple that operated Snack Shack, a carry-out operation in their hometown of Kewanee.

The Andersons were looking for something more permanent in Kewanee, the Quad Cities and Peoria. Michelle Anderson said they checked the former site of Double A's Pizza Sports Bar and Grill, at Willow Knolls Drive and Radnor Road in Peoria, but deemed it too large.

"The Smashburger building kept popping up," Anderson said. "We peeked in the windows and we were like, 'This is it.'"

After four years in business, Smashburger closed in early 2017.

Pre-Game offers wait and to-go service from a menu that features hamburgers, Chicago-style hot dogs and pulled-pork sliders, among other things. Tater-tot appetizers are topped with a variety of items, including Buffalo-style chicken and barbecued pork.

What Pre-Game does not yet have is alcohol for sale. That situation is expected to change next week.

During its meeting earlier this week, the city Liquor Commission recommended the Pre-Game site be approved for booze. The City Council is to consider that recommendation Tuesday night.

Should the council approve, the Andersons plan to have beer and wine available as soon as Thursday. In the interim, business has increased daily, according to Michelle Anderson.

"We want to offer a good product at a reasonable price, where a family can come in and it won't break their budget," she said.

Holding the line on supper expenses might not be what the artists of the song heard on the way to work had in mind. But hey, it fits.