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It's OK - you don't have to be a kid to enjoy a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. And no, I don't mean the boxed stuff. I'm talking gourmet ... like your mama used to make. Thick, bubbly and worth every ooey-gooey calorie. So next time you're at a restaurant, don't glaze over the mac and cheese dish you know you were looking at. Indulge! Here are five of our favorite places in Des Moines to get your cheesy fix.

Z'maricks

12655 University Ave #120, Clive; 515.223-9605

These noodle pros serve z'mac and cheese four ways: original, basil, Buffalo chicken and garlic. Make these curly cavatappi bowls a weekly thing -- their $4 Monday special is calling your name. ($3.99 - $7.99)

Jethro's

3100 Forest Ave; 515-279-3300

It may be on the "sides" list, but this bowl of white cheddar deliciousness is anything but a side note. Seriously, any potluck or BBQ without it should be downright illegal. ($2)

The Cheese Shop of Des Moines

833 42nd St.; 515-528-8181

This cast-iron version starts with Frisian Farms Gouda and Hook's four-year cheddar. Personalize it with playful add-ins like arugula pesto and spicy plum chutney. ($10, add-ins $2 each)

Cooper's on 5th

227 5th St., West Des Moines; 515-255-9895


Two words: smoked Gouda. If you're looking for upscale mac and cheese, this is it. Order with bacon, Kielbasa sausage, shrimp or blackened chicken -- it's totally worth the extra couple bucks. ($11)

Tally's

2712 Beaver Ave; 515-279-2067

Homemade Asiago Alfredo, peas and paper-thin prosciutto become instant BFFs in this fancified bake. Love Parm? It's topped with two golden doses of it. ($16.50)

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