Our family discovered the Chelsea Royal when a trip up Hogback Mountain to the steadily-declining Skyline Restaurant a few years ago found the place shuttered. The Chelsea Royal was the first open restaurant we came to on the way back down Route 9. Our breakfasts were enough to make it a regular stop on our way back from an annual pre-Thanksgiving weekend in north-central Vermont.
My wife swears by the oatmeal (steel-cut, naturally) and blueberry pancakes. My own preference: the corned beef hash (homemade, beefy, and with an excellent crust), served with two eggs (the over easy is consistently perfect) and your choice of toast, including the always-welcome option of pumpernickel. Or the nicely spicy skillet scramble, with fluffy scrambled eggs, spicy but not fiery chorizo-like sausage, perfectly-cooked fried potatoes and just enough cheese.
The service on a late Sunday morning can be just a trifle scattered (you won't get the wrong order, but you might have to ask twice for a coffee refill), and chances are very good that you'll have a 10-20 minute wait for a table. Totally worth it.
"Breakfast in Vermont means pancakes, here covered with powdered sugar. Make sure you pay the extra charge for real maple syrup!"
"Soft inside with a crunchy exterior, this is excellent corned beef hash!"
"The baked beans are a very hearty side dish and are loaded with bits of bacon. "
"Even though there is a newer dining room and a counter, the choice seats are in the old original dining car."
"Behind the 1938 Worcester Dining Car is a larger restaurant added later. Despite the expanded seating, the Chelsea Royal Diner is usually crowded with both locals and travelers along Route 9."