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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.

Dang BBQ

Dang BBQ (174 Islip Ave., Islip): At this
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Dang BBQ (174 Islip Ave., Islip): At this barbecue spot, "smokehouse mac & cheese lasagna" is served in a hot skillet. It boasts layers of lasagna noodles stuffed with macaroni and cheese and pulled pork, and topped with bacon. More info: 631-581-3264, dangbbq.com 

The Shed

The Shed (54 New St., Huntington): Skillet mac-and-cheese
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Shed (54 New St., Huntington): Skillet mac-and-cheese is laced with bits of bacon, corn, slivered jalapenos and scallions at this Huntington eatery. More info: 631-385-7433, intheshed.com 

St. James Public House

St. James Public House (552 North Country Rd.,
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

St. James Public House (552 North Country Rd., 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. More info: 631-250-9900, stjamespublichouse.com 

Crabtree's New York & Main

Crabtree's New York & Main (330 New York
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Crabtree's New York & Main (330 New York Ave., Huntington): Short rib mac and Cheez-Its here 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. More info: 631-923-0920, crabtreesnyandmain.com 

Main Road Biscuit Co.

Main Road Biscuit Co. (1601 Main Rd., Jamesport):
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Main Road Biscuit Co. (1601 Main Rd., 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. More info: 631-779-3463, mainroadbiscuitco.com 

Grey Horse Tavern

Grey Horse Tavern (291 Bayport Ave., Bayport): The
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Grey Horse Tavern (291 Bayport Ave., Bayport): The skillet mac and cheese at this spot is super rich with a four-cheese cream sauce, pancetta and toasted bread crumbs. More info: 631-472-1868, greyhorsetavern.com 

Schout Bay Tavern

Schout Bay Tavern (118 Plandome Rd., Manhasset): The
Photo Credit: Benjamin Petit

Schout Bay Tavern (118 Plandome Rd., Manhasset): The mac-and-cheese with pork belly and panko crumbs at this ultra-hip spot is lush and addictive. More info: 516-627-2190, schoutbaytavern.com 

Mac & Melts

Mac and Melts (684 Stewart Ave., Garden City):
Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

Mac and Melts (684 Stewart Ave., 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. More info: 516-246-9610, macnmelts.com 

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint (4847 Merrick Rd.,
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint (4847 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park): The al dente macaroni and cheese at this barbecue spot is impossible to stop eating. More info: 516-799-4900, smokinals.com 

PeraBell Food Bar

PeraBell Food Bar (multiple locations): The four-cheese mac
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

PeraBell Food Bar (multiple locations): The four-cheese mac and cheese at this top-notch gastropub includes bacon and chives. Locations at 65 E. Main St., Riverhead, and 69 E. Main St., Patchogue. More info: perabellfoodbar.com 

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ (909 West Beach St., Long
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Swingbellys Beachside BBQ (909 West Beach St., 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 burnt ends, topped with crisp fried onions and served with a warm square of cornbread. More info: 516-431-3464, swingbellyslongbeach.com 

George Martin's Grillfire

George Martin's Grillfire (33 Sunrise Hwy., Merrick): The
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

George Martin's Grillfire (33 Sunrise Hwy., 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. More info: 516-379-2222, georgemartinsgrillfire.com 

Mario's Pizzeria

Mario's (multiple locations): The macaroni and cheese pizza
Photo Credit: Newsday / Rebecca Cooney

Mario's (multiple locations): The macaroni and cheese pizza -- with or without bacon -- started as a special, but is now being served 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.) There are locations in Commack (17 Vanderbilt Motor Pkwy,), Melville (1-17 Schwab Rd.) and East Northport (311 Larkfield Rd.). More info: mariospizzeria.com 

The Good Life

The Good Life (1039 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park):
Photo Credit: Alessandro Vecchi

The Good Life (1039 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park): The British-style pub makes a three-cheese sauce mac-and-cheese with a panko-English Cheddar crust. More info: 516-798-4663, thegoodlifeny.com 

Old Fields

Old Fields (multiple locations): Here, the macaroni and
Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

Old Fields (multiple locations): Here, the macaroni and cheese employs orecchiette pasta baked with Cheddar, fontina and Parmesan cheeses and topped with crusted breadcrumbs and herbs. There are locations in Greenlawn (81 Broadway) and Port Jefferson (318 Wynn Ln.). More info: of1956.com 

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub (287 Main St., Huntington):
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Sapsuckers Hops & Grub (287 Main St., 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. More info: 631-683-4945, sapsuckersli.com 

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