OK, I’ll lay it out in detail…
the best place that comes to mind isPenny Cluse Cafe probably the best all-around breakfast spot in town. You have to get the gingerbread pancakes and biscuits with herb gravy, but everything’s good. It’s rather an upscale place, if you want to go all the way it’ll be $10 a person.
Next I would nominate Libby’s Blue Line Dinerwhich is right on the border of Winooski and Colchester on Route 7 (Main St, Winooski). One of those places made semi-famous by a presidential or presidential candidate’s visit (though everything in this area will be famous after Dr. Dean wins in ’04[:D]), it’s also slightly upscale though still has much the diner feel.
More typical greasy-spoon type diners would be Henry’s and Oasis, both downtown a block apart from each other on Bank St; Henry’s is less adventuresome menu-wise but takes credit cards, Oasis has more the classic diner ambience. Also worthy of note are Nectar’s, a bar/tavern with typical diner breakfasts that is famous for having helped Phish get their start (on Main St Burlington) and Handy’s Lunch (2 blocks from my apartment on Maple St) which is very much a working-class super-cheap dive.
Like I said, the cakes at Penny Cluse are wonderful; I’m not sure about the hash. I seem to remember Libbys being good for that, but it’s been a while. The absolute best place for breakfast in the N part of the state if you’re willing to travel a bit, though, is The Farmer’s Dinerin Barre, about 1 hour East of Burlington. Virtually everything they serve was grown or raised in Vermont, preparation is top-notch, and they have about the best corned beef has I’ve ever tasted. Just a touch above typical diner prices, too. Really, totally worth the trip for a serious RoadFoodie.
Whatever your choice, you will get real VT maple syrup; I don’t think any self-respecting restaurant outside of a national chain would serve anything less here.