On August 24, 2017, United unveiled Classified, an invitation-only, “secret” 36-seat restaurant inside Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport.
When the new and exclusive OTG restaurant was first announced, everyone coveted an invitation. There really is no rhyme or reason to how United determines which MileagePlus accounts are eligible for access, and if there is a secret formula, I have yet to crack it.
For example, many of my friends who are top-tier, Newark-based elites were not targeted, but others with little or no United status were stunned to find out they were able to make a reservation just by checking.
For what it’s worth, my 3-year old son and I were part of the latter group. Though I am Newark-based, I’m only a lowly Premier Silver now that United has gone revenue-based. My son does not have any status with United.
On Thanksgiving Day, right before our 9:37am United flight to Nassau, Bahamas, we decided to check out Classified. I made a reservation for 2 at 7:30am.
Classified is located in the back of the French restaurant, Saison at gate 120 in Terminal C.
When we arrived, there was a hostess holding an iPad that confirmed my reservation and checked us in.
As I previously stated, my reservation was for 2 (which is the maximum allowed), and I had already planned to take my daughter while my husband and son dined somewhere else for the time being; however, to my surprise, the hostess invited us all to Classified so we can dine together. Keep in mind, an invitation to Classified does not equal a free meal.
Once we checked in, we were escorted to the back of the restaurant, where we passed through a disguised and unmarked door, leading us down a dark hallway before finally reaching the restaurant.
My first impression of Classified was that it had a modern design, awesome plane-spotting views, and that it was PACKED. My guess was that it was crowded because it was Thanksgiving Day.
On another hand, I also noticed that there were several families dining together as well. I wondered if they all had a similar story to mine – one reservation and the hostess allowing everyone in, too.
Another observation was that there were several iPads on all of the tables, which honestly was kind of a disappointment because not only did it definitely look out of place from a design perspective, it also took away from the “speakeasy” environment and intimate level of service one would expect during an “exclusive” dining experience.
If you’ve dined at Terminal C at EWR before, you know what I mean. It’s the same iPads you find at all of the other restaurants throughout the terminal.
While silly to point out, I also liked the fact that there were two private and exceptionally clean bathrooms exclusively designated for patrons of Classified. The restrooms were stocked with Cowshed amenities, just as you would find out your United flight.
Speaking of service, I’ll be honest that we did not experience any exceptional service or attention. For the most part, the interactions were limited to just me and the iPad, with the occasional wave to the waiter to fill my glass of water.
I had read previous reports of others receiving hot towels or linen requests. Trust me, those touches really didn’t matter, but I just wanted to emphasize that I did not feel this was an exceptionally special dining experience apart from anywhere else I’ve dined in the terminal.
The only thing I can remember was that I was offered departure chocolates as we were hurrying out. I don’t know why, but I somehow refused, which I now regret because I later found out that they were supposedly a small box of amazing chocolates from Melange.
Classified features farm-to-table fresh food, with a menu that changes seasonally. Everything is ordered through the iPad at your seat. There were about 15 entree choices for breakfast, and you can see a sample selection of items choices and prices below:
Between the four of us, we ordered 3 entrees and that was plenty. I went for the filet benedict for $20 (which I thought was reasonable because it did come with around 8-10 oz of quality steak under the poached eggs), the farm omelet for $16.50, and the eggs any style for $13.
The food was genuinely good, and though the prices were a bit high, it wasn’t as expensive as I had prepared it to be.
I can’t say there was truly anything special about Classified other than it was nice to find a quiet place to dine, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to check it out for myself, especially since there are no Priority Pass lounges at Terminal C, and the United Clubs are undergoing major renovations all the way into mid 2018.
I wish I could have taken more photos, but the restaurant was at about 80% capacity and I didn’t want to be intrusive to others.
What are your thoughts? Did you have a chance to dine at Classified yet?