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Baldinos continues holiday tradition
Free subs served up on Christmas Eve
big sandwich
Baldinos manager Mary Wilson, left, Stacy Wilson, center, and Sarah Mahan serve customers free subs during the restaurant's Christmas Eve lunch event. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger

Baldinos at a glance

• First store: 1975 in Fayetteville, N.C.
• Founder: Bill Baer
• Number of locations: 11 in Georgia (the one in Hinesville is the first Baldinos in Georgia), seven in North Carolina.
• Specialties: bread baked daily, freshly sliced meat.

It’s a good thing that Baldinos specializes in giant submarine sandwiches, as an estimated 300 to 400 people snaked around the interior and out the front door of the Hinesville restaurant’s annual free Christmas Eve lunch on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a few more people here than last year,” said Abdel Saed-Roa, a longtime employee. “We made about 20 to 24 12-foot subs.”
Manager Mary Wilson said Baldinos has hosted the event for more than 30 years. She, for one, was not surprised to see another big turnout. It never get old.
“We still love doing it,” Wilson said.
With patrons filling up all available seating and standing room, Wilson and her staff provided many in the community with a complimentary lunch, including their choice of an Italian or American sub, fruit punch, plus a chance to visit with Santa.
“And a smile,” said Abdel Saed-Roa, Wilson’s son.
Local leasing specialist Debbie Gaitten attended the holiday lunch for the third year in a row. 
“I’m a Baldinos fan,” she said. “I’ve been eating here since I was a little kid. I used to save up my babysitting money and come here.”
Wilson said the restaurant, which is located just outside the main gate to Fort Stewart, on General Screven Way, has turned into somewhat of a Hinesville landmark. The special event was created to show appreciation for all the Liberty County residents who have been regular customers over the years, and the military community, which has frequented Baldinos since it opened.
“It’s a little something to show our appreciation and to give back,” Wilson said.
There were plenty of thanks to go around. Many full-bellied customers showed their appreciation
to Wilson and her employees.
“A couple of people came up to me and said, ’I don’t know anybody else that does something like that,’” Saed-Roa said. “Everybody’s really grateful.”
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