Is United’s Secret Classified Restaurant Worthy of the Hype?

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For the last six months, my husband has become a bit of a road warrior and is actually now flying a good bit more than me. As such, he has had the chance to become an airport lounge regular, earn airline elite status, and pick up his own business travel rituals. One of his rituals, shared by many other business travelers, is to visit a lounge to get work done and maybe even relax a bit before a flight. When he flies out of LaGuardia he loves heading to the Amex Centurion Lounge using his Platinum Card®, however, when he flies out of Newark, there isn’t nearly as good of a lounge selection.

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To mix it up a bit, on his last flight out of Newark, I made a reservation for him at the new “invitation-only” Classified restaurant. When this somewhat secretive United restaurant first opened a few months ago it was hard to get a reservation as many United members weren’t eligible to enter the Classified halls, however, when I tried again last month it was not a problem to make a reservation for Josh.

Classified has no sign in the airport, but it is located in the Newark Airport at the entrance of Saison, near Gate 120. If you are thinking of a making a visit yourself, here were his thoughts…

 

My expectations for how to find the entrance to the restaurant were piqued when two friendly agents at the entrance to Saisson asked if I wanted a table or to sit at the bar.  When I inquired with “Classified?”, they confirmed my reservation with an iPad, and I was immediately ushered through Saisson, toward an unmarked door at the back of the property. This led to a hallway that brought me shortly to CLASSIFIED.

Occupying a narrow bank of windows facing the jetbridge of Gate 120, the booths and tables, while spartan, have iPads per seat on which to place your order and bide your time, as well as power outlets with both 120 Volt and USB charging slots. Additionally, two card swipe slots per table are available, so your entire ordering and payment are self-driven. Despite this, a server still actively engages each patron, bringing an amuse bouche (mine was a cauliflower soup) and recommending various waters (sparkling or still) while still indicating that the order should be placed through the tablet.

Before I could finish placing the order, my water was brought to me. Minutes later, my appetizer of a half dozen Eastern Oysters arrived, and they disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived since they were fresh and delicious. Shortly thereafter, my main course arrived.

As somewhat of an aside, Summer and I are focusing on healthier eating heading into the holiday season, so I was pleased to see a vegan menu option, though the Pastrami Steak fit the bill for this day. It too was savory, was perfectly cooked at my requested medium, and I was unequivocally sated.

Although relatively pricey for an airport meal (you can find the Classified Menu here), CLASSIFIED provides a level of distinction, class, and comfort in an otherwise less-than-comfortable environment. I had to leave shortly after finishing my meal to stand in the boarding line, though I wished I had more time to linger. If you have the time and are willing to spend a few bucks on your meal, I highly recommend a visit to this unique establishment before a flight out of Newark. It was lightyears more enjoyable than another trip to the United Club and makes me look forward to a future departure out of EWR.

 

While Josh isn’t huge on taking lots of photos, I saw that the Wandering Aramean just enjoyed his CLASSIFIED meal as well, and he took some shots of the restaurant and his meal.

I presume that your United MileagePlus credit card will give you 20% off at CLASSIFIED as it does at the other OTG iPad order airport restaurants and I hope to give it a try myself on a future visit out of Newark. If you are interested in a visit yourself, you can head here to try and make a reservation. If you have dined at CLASSIFIED, I’d love to hear your experience!

Head here to learn more about available credit cards and their bonuses.

Comments

  1. I loved my experience there. I finally felt relaxed in an airport. It’s so quiet in the restaurant and the bathrooms right there mean you don’t have to leave. The United MileagePlus Explorer card saves you 20% too, which mitigates the exorbitant prices a bit.

  2. Is the heirloom tomato tartine the vegan option you mentioned? Sadly it’s only on the weekend brunch menu – the rest of the time vegans and vegetarians are stuck with salads and shishito peppers as far as I can tell (there’s a couple of non-vegan vegetarian options on the breakfast menu, and a cheese tray, but nothing I’d go out of my way for )

  3. I disagree completely. My experience included poor service, the wrong items delivered, being rushed, and dining with 3-4 tables around me empty and filled with dirty dishes.

    The service was poor and didn’t seem to care. My courses came out in the wrong order even after the server asked me how I wanted them.

    The bathrooms were closed on my visit for remodeling. Overall, not worth the hype in my book.

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