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Road Games Travel Tips: Exploring is great!

Week 3 preseason: Seattle at Minnesota, Aug. 24, 2018, 5:00 p.m. Pacific

SPONSORED – The line stretched out the door and into the winter.

That was the first sign that Matt’s Bar is something more than just a lovable local dive bar.

The fact that this was the Minnesota winter gives you a pretty good idea of just how much more than a local dive Matt’s actually is.

It’s an institution. The birthplace of the Jucy Lucy, which is the ultimate cheeseburger in that the cheese isn’t just on the burger, but in it.

I should pause here to say that there is a bit of dispute over the birthplace of this particular burger as well as its spelling. The 5-8 Club – which was once a Minnesota speakeasy – boasts that it’s the proper birthplace and it uses a more proper spelling: Juicy Lucy.

I went to Matt’s Bar not because of any historical conviction or tireless research, but because it was geographically closest to my brother’s house. He lives in Minneapolis. Has for more than three years, in fact, with his family that includes my wonderful little niece, Henri, whom I call Hank.

And Minneapolis is an utterly pleasant city except in those instances in which it is overwhelmingly cold, which generally happens to overlap with just about any time I visit. It is the site of the coldest game in Seattle history, but that was three seasons ago. And it was January.

The new stadium – which hosted the championship game last season – has a roof. And this game will be played in August so make sure to bring short sleeves, and if you do decided to go for a Jucy Lucy – which is highly recommended – you won’t be waiting outside in winter. It should be downright pleasant. You’re going to have to wait, though. After all, Matt’s is an institution.

One word of warning, though, for anyone eating a Jucy Lucy: Fear the cheese. It’s molten hot when cooked inside the burger so approach with caution.

Travel: Alaska Airline has three non-stop flights from Sea-Tac to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) on most days. The Minneapolis airport has an incredible Web site that tells you everything from current security-line waits to parking availability. There are two terminals, Lindbergh (Terminal 1) and Humphrey (Terminal 2). Don’t worry, though. Alaska Airlines flights go to Lindbergh, and there is a local light-rail service that goes north – to downtown Minneapolis – or south to the Mall of America.

Stadium: This is the third season of operation for Minnesota’s fancy new football stadium with an angled glass roof that allows views of the Minneapolis skyline. It is a fixed-roof stadium, which makes it unique in some respects as most of the more recent stadiums in the league have been either open-air or had a retractable roof. It’s the first fixed-roof stadium in the league since Ford Field in Detroit, which opened in 2002.

Last time here: The coldest game in Seattle’s history took place in January 2016 when Minnesota was a tenant on the University of Minnesota campus and temperature at kickoff was negative-6 degrees Fahrenheit. Seattle scored 10 points in the fourth-quarter and then survived a last-minute missed field goal from point-blank range.

Dining: Matt’s Bar and Grill (3500 Cedar, Minneapolis, 612.722.7072); The Butcher and the Boar (1121 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612.238.8888) is heaven for any carnivores while my personal off-the-wall favorite is Pizza Luce, which has eight locations, features the baked-potato pizza. It’s outrageously good.