CONFIRMED: United Polaris Lounge Now Offering Restaurant-Style Dining!

Filed Under: United

Yesterday I shared the rumor that the United Polaris Lounge in Chicago would begin offering restaurant-style dining service today. This is one of the key features of the lounge that United has been heavily promoting. Prior to today, however, they had only been offering buffet service which, frankly, wasn’t the game changer we had been promised.


Well, it turns out that the rumor was true!

The United Polaris Lounge in Chicago is now accepting orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Points Guy has posted a copy of the menu and it looks pretty darn good.

Breakfast runs from 7:15 AM to 11:00 AM and has nine different hot options, including a variety of egg dishes, pancakes, and waffles. Then there are cold choices and a variety of breads.

Lunch and dinner share the same menu and are available from 11:00 AM until 8:30 PM. Here there is a selection of appetizers, soup, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts. There seems to be a bit of a fried chicken theme as you can order it as a sandwich or an entree. Or if that’s not your thing, you can go with the the ribeye, shrimp, or gnudi dishes. Interestingly, there seem to be roughly the same number of choices on the ground (five, counting the entree salad) as there are in the air.

All and all, it seems like a very solid offering.

In addition, OMAAT reader PeterR dined in the Polaris Lounge today and shared some pictures of the menu and his meal over on FlyerTalk. It seems that the actual menu is slightly different than the one that TPG obtained, but generally similar.


Now I’ll be interested to hear how all of this is executed. The Polaris Lounge was fairly busy when my family arrived around 5 PM earlier this week, so hopefully they are staffed appropriately for these periods of peak demand. If so, I’ll be excited to dine in the lounge for short-ish overnight flights to Europe, as I’ll gladly take all the sleep I can get on the plane.

Bottom Line

Restaurant-style dining is now live at the United Polaris Lounge in Chicago. The offerings are impressive.

I’m just a bit saddened that my family missed the debut by a couple of days as we’d have loved to do a once-around-the-menu for you all. Oh well, maybe next time.

Does the start of sit-down service at the Polaris Lounge have you excited? 

  1. Here is where United haters will grasp at straws to somehow spin this in a negative light. I say nice job and hope that they continue in this positive direction.

  2. I’m a UA FF and still a perpetual UA-hater – being based in SFO makes them a solid go-to for scheduling purposes, much to my chagrin, and provides a lot of cannon fodder. But these offerings looks pretty awesome. I think I’d still prefer the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse over the Polaris Lounge, but if United can pull this off, this’ll definitely put them ahead of the other US carriers. I’m still gonna bitch about how the Polaris hard product isn’t industry leading, but I will definitely give credit where it’s due if this restaurant-style dining holds up.

  3. Hopefully this place will survive the notoriously fierce Chicago restaurant competition. Places are always opening and closing in popular areas like River North, Lincoln Park, and Wicker Park. On the one hand, this place has a captive audience in the form of travelers, but on the other hand it’s pretty out of the way for city dwellers to swing by for dinner (or especially lunch). Time will tell if there’s enough foot traffic to sustain it. Can’t wait to try it myself!

  4. @Hosea:

    They DO have a captive audience in that you can only utilize the Polaris Lounge if you’re departing same-day on a United flight in Polaris Business or Polaris First. Chicagoans/ites aren’t going to drive out to ORD *just* to go to the Polaris Lounge at all, because they wouldn’t be able to get into the airside portion of the airport in the first place.

  5. Are these meals “free” with your entrance/membership/first/business ticket? The person who mentioned the competition of the restaurant scene has me confused, is this a separate private restaurant with a pay as you go menu or a typical airport/airline lounge that you can enter with your cc/priority pass, or first/biz ticket?

  6. I really, really want to like Polaris. I have to make a connection for most of my flights on Delta so changing to United and connecting through Chicago wouldn’t be that big of deal.

    What disappoints me, however, is the way United decided to unveil Polaris. It was, in my opinion, an epic fail to release the new product — backed by so much hype and spin — without a single aircraft featuring the new seats. Moreover, they should have waited until at least one of the much-hyped Polaris lounges with sit-down, menu dining was operational. The fact is that United’s Polaris business-class won’t be fleet-wide until 2021, which means there will be a great deal of uncertainty for anyone flying long-haul for the next several years.

  7. @AdamR, I agree that Chicagoans probably won’t drive out to Polaris (short term parking is very expensive!), but there’s a train that runs right from downtown into the heart of the airport. Many city dwellers don’t own a car anyway.

  8. To be clear:

    The Polaris lounge is NOT a restaurant that is open to the public. Nor is it open to any credit card or Priority Pass program. It is not even open to full paying United Club members. It, like most international premium lounges, is only open to passengers flying same day in the premium cabin, in this case Polaris which is the new name for United’s international premium cabin.

    Food is all included as are drinks at no additional fee. The fact that some people felt that it looked good enough to be a stand alone restaurant, especially one that could compete in Chicago, is a very good sign.

  9. The menu looks amazing (AA Take not because your food is nasty) They are not skimping!…for now…the crazy part is Business class travelers gets in too? How long will this last?? I have a feeling eventually the menu will deteriorate much like what i am seeing with Qantas first lounge in LAX and cathay lounges in HKG.

  10. @SameSame — @Hosea was not trolling; s/he was just ignorant, failing to understand that Polaris was NOT a “restaurant”, but an exclusive airport lounge open only to same-date United premium cabin travelers. Few will get access to Polaris, but as one who flies out of LGA and almost always connects at ORD for Intl flights, I think Polaris and I will become intimate friends, depending on how many GPUs I can clear each year…

  11. As food is one of the important features of this new benefit for premium class service, I hope they are more considerate of vegetarians and offer more vegetarian choices. Right now, there is absolutely none! And unfortunately, vegetarians are always being forgotten by most people!

  12. OK, all the discussion got me curious about booking a reservation for my upcoming anniversary. I was unable to find anything online though. I’m guessing with all the hype you must need to be “connected” to get in during the first few months? Maybe I will try my American Express Platinum Concierge tomorrow and see what they can do.

    I love this idea of needing a “first class” ticket to get in once you make your reservation! Really makes the whole experience special in an aviation-themed way. And it sounds like they’re doing different *A carriers that fly to ORD? Very appropriate and clever. Kudos to the creative team.

  13. I guess I’m still unclear on whether you print the ticket at home and bring it or whether they hand it to you when you show up at the restaurant.

  14. Well nice job Hosea though it’s not particularly difficult to act like an idiot and then feel good when people treat you as such.

  15. Why does dinner finish so early. The key time for dinner leaving the East Coast will be for late flights out (that’s what the competition all offer and for good reason). If they are not serving dinner ahead of an 11pm flight – or even a 10pm flight, they’ve missed the point.

  16. Hahaha Hosea you really have the idiots hooked don’t you. Your trolling really does make me chuckle

  17. @M — Oldest trick in the book. @Hosea got caught saying silly things, realized it and decided to do some face-saving charade…

  18. hahaha nah DCS… you just have to take a look back through Hosea’s comment history to see what a troll he/she is.
    Hosea I think your humour is too dry for most americans it would seem

  19. DCS, in the past few days I’ve seen Hosea…
    -pretend to be impressed with Regis Philbin for founding the St. Regis hotel brand (
    -encourage pilots to “try being a passenger for once” (
    -wish that he had an opportunity to run a small country like Brunei, if only he had the right credit card benefits (
    -complain about Jamaican people starving in the streets of Cuba (

    I think you need to brush up on your armchair psychology, kiddo 🙂

  20. I am having a hard time thinking they can beat the LH club..,
    Travis, bravo for cross linking to another blog with relevant information for the benefit of readers. I have tried that in the past in comments but they did not pass moderation. Not sure why that would be…

  21. drmodemd: If you are referring to the LH FCT in Frankfurt, yeah, agree.

    But at least in Chicago, there is no LH club. And the sit-down dining option is going to beat the LH club in IAD anyway. So stateside, I think they’ll be ahead of LH.

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