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Macaroni and cheese on Long Island: Versions we love

When cheese meets pasta, beautiful things can happen. And while some restaurants keep their macaroni and cheese dishes perfectly simple, others excel at versions that add everything from bacon to duck to lobster.

All of these recommended mac-and-cheeses are worth the calories. We promise.

Selections by Newsday's food staff.

St. James Public House

St. James Public House, St. James: Applewood-smoked bacon
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

St. James Public House, St. James: Applewood-smoked bacon macaroni and cheese is made with three cheeses (American, Cheddar and Monterey jack) and topped with a potato-chip crust at this eatery.

Crabtree's New York & Main

Crabtree's New York & Main, Huntington: Short rib
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Crabtree's New York & Main, Huntington: Short rib mac and Cheez-Its at Crabtree's New York & Main features a gooey mass of shells slathered in molten, velvety Cheddar and luscious shreds of short rib, showered with crumbled Cheez-Its -- like a childhood dream in a bowl.

Main Road Biscuit Co.

Main Road Biscuit Co., Jamesport: Marissa's mac-and-cheese comes
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Main Road Biscuit Co., Jamesport: Marissa's mac-and-cheese comes to the table bubbling hot in a generously sized cast-iron skillet at Main Road Biscuit Co. Topped with toasted biscuit crumbs, the macaroni is coated in a winning combination of creamy Cheddar and Gruyère.

Grey Horse Tavern

Grey Horse Tavern, Bayport: The skillet mac and
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Grey Horse Tavern, Bayport: The skillet mac and cheese at this spot is super rich with a four-cheese cream sauce, pancetta and toasted bread crumbs.

The Tavern by George Martin

The Tavern by George Martin, Rockville Centre: The
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

The Tavern by George Martin, Rockville Centre: The four-cheese mac and cheese at this eatery is made with a blend of Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere and American, and topped with a Goldfish cracker crumble.

Schout Bay Tavern

Schout Bay Tavern, Manhasset: The mac and cheese
Photo Credit: Benjamin Petit

Schout Bay Tavern, Manhasset: The mac and cheese with pork belly and panko crumbs at this ultra-hip spot is lush and addictive.

Mac & Melts

Mac and Melts, Garden City: If you can't
Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

Mac and Melts, Garden City: If you can't decide which variety to order -- the Southwestern with crushed tortilla chips and andouille sausage, the Alpine with Gruyere and smoked Gouda, the Buffalo chicken -- the M&M sampler features a taste of eight varieties of mac and cheese, served in a segmented cast iron skillet.

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint, Massapequa Park: The
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint, Massapequa Park: The al dente macaroni and cheese at this barbecue spot is impossible to stop eating.

PeraBell Food Bar

PeraBell Food Bar, Patchogue: The four-cheese mac and
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

PeraBell Food Bar, Patchogue: The four-cheese mac and cheese at this top-notch gastrobpub includes bacon and chives. (Other location at 65 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-740-9494)

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Long Beach: One specialty that
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Long Beach: One specialty that should not be missed at this eatery is the opulent "mac and Pete," a bowl of creamy, al dente mac and cheese laced with brisket burned ends, topped with crisp fried onions and served with a warm square of cornbread.

George Martin's Grillfire

George Martin's Grillfire, Merrick: The self-described
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

George Martin's Grillfire, Merrick: The self-described "world's best" mac and cheese is a bowl of creamy goodness topped with toasted herb breadcrumbs. Optional: the addition of Sloppy Joe beef. Other locations in Merrick and Rockville Centre.

Mario's

Mario's, Melville: The macaroni and cheese pizza --
Photo Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

Mario's, Melville: The macaroni and cheese pizza -- with or without bacon -- started as a special that was so popular, it will be continued indefinitely. Delectably gooey and rich, we love the clean, simple comfort of meatless elbows enrobed in a confluence of mozzarella, Cheddar and Mexican cheeses. (Not that the bacon version doesn't have its own smoky-salty merits.)

BBD's

BBD's, Rocky Point: With a section of the
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

BBD's, Rocky Point: With a section of the menu dedicated to bacon, of course the mac and cheese at BBD's (Beer Burgers Desserts), with a cheese sauce and pretzel topping, includes the salty strips.

The Good Life

The Good Life, Massapequa Park: The British-style pub
Photo Credit: Alessandro Vecchi

The Good Life, Massapequa Park: The British-style pub makes a three-cheese sauced mac and cheese with a panko-English cheddar crust.

Old Fields

Old Fields, Greenlawn: Here, the macaroni and cheese
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

Old Fields, Greenlawn: Here, the macaroni and cheese employs orecchiette pasta baked with cheddar, fontina and Parmesan cheeses and topped with crusted breadcrumbs and herbs.

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub, Huntington: A menu of
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub, Huntington: A menu of modern comfort classics (plus an impressive roster of interesting craft beers) includes elbow macaroni in a four-cheese sauce with truffle essence and a herb-breadcrumb crust.

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