Any Saturday or Sunday in Burlington, no matter how cold, you will see a crowd of people gathered outside of Penny Cluse Cafe on Cherry Street. The wait is always at least a half-hour (unless you go very early, on weekends the cafe opens at 8am)– but, is always so worth it. This cozy breakfast spot has a diverse menu of delicious, incredibly fresh (and never greasy) dishes.
Penny Cluse always offers breakfast and lunch specials utilizing seasonal ingredients, but I always find myself craving some of the staple menu items. The omelettes are amazing, and have so many different filling choices, it’s actually a bit overwhelming. Way beyond the standard options, Penny Cluse offers many local cheeses, and meats (including andouille, chorizo, chicken apple sausage, and smoked bacon), and other interesting items like cranberry-almond relish, dulse seaweed, capers, and many, many more.
My personal favorite dish is the Chorizo and Egg Tacos a lunch plate featuring two soft corn tortillas filled with house-made chorizo sausage scrambled with eggs and jack cheese, served with black beans, and avocado salsa. The chorizo is packed with spicy and savory flavor, the eggs are always soft and fluffy, and with just a little hot sauce, it makes one of my all time favorite brunch meals.
The Mama Cruz’s Huevos Rancheros, and the Tofu Scram (I like it with the salsa ranchero and corn muffins), are some of my other favorite savory items. These are served with the cafes awesome homefries, which are so good they could be a meal in themselves (the Bucket-o-Spuds appetizer features a mound of homefries with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, and green onions, an egg on top is also an option).
For those of you who prefer sweet breakfast foods, Penny Cluse offers many delicious options. The Gingerbread Pancakes (served with Vermont maple syrup, obviously) are one of their most popular dishes. I also really love their Banana Bread with Maple Walnut Cream Cheese to share with the table.
With a bloody mary, mimosa, or several cups of steaming hot coffee, you’re in for one of the best brunch meals in the area (Sneakers in Winooski takes a close second). The food is consistently great, and arrives to your table very quickly after ordering. So wait the half hour, go shop across the street at the Outdoor Gear Exchange (where you can easy spend 30 minutes), believe me, it will be worth it (no matter how bad your weekend hangover may be).