Classified: United’s New Invitation-Only Restaurant Inside Newark Airport

There’s a new OTG restaurant at Newark that’s invitation only for United customers. It’s called Classified and the fact that it’s exclusive appears to be the primary thing that’s special about it. Club 33 it’s not.

You have to log in to see if you have access to the restaurant’s details and reservations.

Apparently having an upcoming flight from or through Newark may influence being invited, although doesn’t guarantee it, and elite status may help but doesn’t guarantee it. The exact formula for an invitation isn’t yet known.

If you aren’t invited, you can add your name to a list. It’s unclear whether that improves your chances or not.

United sends out email invitations to book a table at CLASSIFIED, although there are reports of some people successfully accessing the restaurant site without having received the email.

We’re pleased to welcome you to dine at CLASSIFIED, an invitation-only, contemporary restaurant at Newark Airport.

The creators of CLASSIFIED have created a bright and airy dining space that’s hidden away for those lucky enough to get an invitation. On the cutting edge of airport dining, CLASSIFIED offers a menu that’s inspired by upscale American cuisine with seasonal ingredients and tableside service. We’re offering reservations to select United® customers only, and we want to make sure you’re at the top of the list. Reserve a table today to experience this unique, new restaurant that’s the first of its kind.

It’s an OTG restaurant at Newark, so… iPads, just like you order with at Newark while munching on a piece of punk rock’s past.

iPads even at an ostensibly nice restaurant with appetizers priced up to $34 and a la carte steaks up to $98. Here are the menus.

It is a small restaurant, the menu makes it look like a decent offering but not one that pushes any envelopes, a basic steakhouse and American fare designed to appeal to a broad set of tastes which to me is a shame since they don’t have to fill very many seats they don’t have to do that even in an airport. But even the best concepts fall flat inside airports.

There are limits on when things can be brought in, they can’t generally bring supplies down the concourse at peak travel times. So you don’t get the freshest just-in-time delivery.

And space limitations are huge. Not only can’t you bring things in whenever you want, you often don’t have a lot of space for storage at least compared to a standard retail location. And you may not have room for specialized equipment.

The airport may not permit gas ovens, so everything has to get re-created using electric.

Security constrains your chefs, their knives frequently have to be tethered to a wall to prevent being taken (and inventoried every day).

When you run a restaurant inside an airport you have a large number of people who need to be served quickly — you need to prepare for quick service even trumping quality because of the pressures of flight departures.

Maybe just because I haven’t been invited, but I’m don’t feel like I’m missing out, I’d still rather fly out of New York JFK and eat at Spicy Lanka on the way to the airport.

(HT: adambrau)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Was able to log in as a 1K, India-based.

    Prices on the menu appear to be quite high…

    It might be a good alternative to the lounge “food” – but one has to pay for everything, and there are decent restaurants for United pax in Terminal C that are more affordable.

  2. I’m guessing this is in the previous ‘back room’ space of the old Gallagher’s, pre-OTG. An interesting concept, to be sure, but seems a bit strange, especially if top-tier and full-fare customers are the target audience: “Thanks for spending tens of thousands of dollars with us, here’s an exclusive chance for you to sit in a small dining room and overpay for a mediocre steak from the same kitchen that churns out pub burgers for the bar across the way…”

  3. I think the idea is that if people feel important and exclusive they’ll be willing to pay twice what it’s worth for average food. They may be right.

  4. Interesting to see if it works. EWR probably has a relatively high number of HNW passengers that can afford it, but I also wonder if they are in too much of a hurry, and likely to go to an airline lounge instead. (Not that the United Clubs are much competition.) I’m guessing that they are using the kitchen of some other restaurant.

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