Yep, you read that right - there is a secret, invite-only hangout in the middle of Newark Liberty International Airport and it is aptly named "Classified." How do I know this? Certainly not because I'm cool enough to get invited in. I do, however, know someone who is cool enough and who did get such an invite. We're still trying to figure out how/why she got the email invitation as there seems to be no clear cut parameters, but I'm thinking it may have something to do with her million-miler status on United although I've read that such status does not matter. They do bill it as a thank you experience for frequent travelers even though there is nothing complimentary about the experience.
Located near the Saison restaurant in Terminal C, Classified tries to keep things under wraps by not revealing its exact location until you've made a reservation. This 36-seat restaurant says it features "upscale American cuisine" and the prices seem to reflect the upscale-ness as well. With items like a lobster salad for $37 and a $92 filet mignon that comes paired with 375ml of wine, it certainly isn't your typical airport restaurant. To see the full menu, click here.
I tried to see if I could sign up online for access when I visited the website where I was prompted to enter my United MileagePlus number. For a few seconds, the website appears to be thinking, almost deeming whether you are worthy or not. Apparently, I am not worthy despite my frequent flyer status because I received this message:
Fine, if that's how you want to play, Classified... Luckily, my friend spun through on her recent trip through Newark and gave me the lowdown which I am sharing with you here. I will not, however, share with you the exact location of the restaurant because I think there is something fun about a secret spot (reminds me of that time I went on the hunt for The Blind Pig in Dublin!).
When she walked in, there were only about 4 people in the entire place. It should be mentioned that reservations are mandatory. No strolling in to kill some time here. Each table has an iPad for ordering exactly as they do at the restaurants located on the concourse, so if you're looking for a fine dining experience with a personal feel, you can forget that. While a waiter did visit her table, it was only to see if she was familiar with ordering on an iPad which is a bit disappointing. Being a United MileagePlus credit card holder, she was able to enjoy 20% off her bill.
She ate the pricey lobster salad and some fries, but the bizarre thing was that she ate this salad with plastic cutlery that was given to her. Nothing says luxury like trying to cut some lobster with a plastic knife! Seems strange especially because there appears to be regular cutlery placed on the tables. At the end of the meal they gave her a little box of milk chocolate complimentary.
While my friend's experience is a bit different than we were both expecting, you can bet that should I get an email inviting me in, I will be there in a heartbeat to check it out (hint hint, United!)!