Remembering Borderline Pizza

Borderline Pizza in Chester. (Photo by Dick Cray)

Borderline Pizza in Chester. (Photo by Dick Cray)

By Marcie Klomp

Now that Dean Thompson has opened up a Borderline Pizza in St. Charles, folks are remembering the old Chester Borderline Pizza. It was located on the corner, beside Cray Insurance.Jeannie and Jerry Sandry opened the business in July 1981 with just one small oven.

As the business grew, so did the number and size of ovens. They eventually boasted three large ovens to take care of all the orders. Within two years, the kitchen part of the business was located exclusively in the corner part. The building next door was purchased and held the dining area that could seat 160 customers.

The basement arcade held at least 40 game machines.

Many folks came to Chester for pizza and shopping, as J&S Liquidators also benefited from the traffic. Many customers shopped across the street before, during and after the trip to Borderline.

In January 1986, Jerry’s parents, Clarence and Arlene Sandry took over the business. The restaurant’s most popular variety was the Borderline 9, which boasted nine toppings.

May 1995 was the end of an era as both buildings burned to the ground.

Jan Cray remembers the day. “Dick (Randy’s dad) called to say Borderline was on fire.” Randy and brother Tom hurried to the site to save computers and any other equipment they could at the adjoining Cray Insurance building. “We just sat on Dick and Lorraine’s porch and watched the building burn.”

In better times, Jan said the family ate there a lot and had many of their kids’ birthday parties at the pizzeria.

Steve Johnson and dad, Earl, were two of the original Borderline’s first customers. “We did the wiring when they first opened. They fed us. They were experimental pizzas. Dad and I just loved it!”

Vickie Ator recalled eating her favorite—everything pizza. “We went there every other Sunday.”



Jody Beck had a couple reasons why he went to Chester back in the day. “Every Friday night we’d go skating. We’d stay there for two or three hours, and then we’d head to Borderline. We got pizza or ice cream, and then we played in the arcade.”

Elaine Niewoehner’s family would get pizza to go. “We’d always get the pan with everything on it. It was good pizza.”

Borderline even holds a special place in the heart of this writer as it was after eating at the restaurant that my husband asked me to marry him.

Darrel Elsbernd remembers having pizza at Chester’s Borderline but also remembers the one in St. Charles as he ate there on about day three of its opening! “Dean was tired—he’d done about 60 pizzas already that day. It tastes just like Borderline Pizza in Chester.” He said there was a lot of neat stuff on the walls in Chester that Thompson also planned to do.

The opening of the new restaurant has brought back a lot of recollections for local folks. Hopefully Thompson’s endeavor will bring back memories to just as many folks a few years down the line!


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