I'm considering getting an Epiphone Les Paul Standard, tried one out in Guitar Center and I'm sure it's what I want. But as far a finish goes, should I get a plain top, or a plus top blemished item?
You can't go too wrong. Just go for the one that's more appealing. Make sure you try them out thoroughly before you buy because there's a lot of variation from individual guitar to individual guitar.
thats a personal preference you need to decide

Epi Les Paul Std w/Duncans
Cry Baby From Hell
Marshall JH-1
EHX Metal Muff
MXR EVH Phase 90
Carl Martin Classic Chorus
EHX #1 Echo
Ibanez LU-20
Dunlop DCB-10
Crate V50112
Tascam US144