Crystal Lake Catering Company

Northern Michigan; Benzie County; Traverse City; Leelanau


Price Range

$$$ – Moderate


Cajun, Southern, Southwestern, American, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Latin American, Mexican, Middle Eastern, BBQ, Seafood

Dietary Options

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Kosher, Nut Free, Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian

Wedding Categories

Buffet, Chef Stations, Family Style, Food Trucks, Passed Appetizers, Seated Meal, Servers, Food + Catering, Service Staff


Contact Info

619 Frankfort Ave, Elberta, MI Northern Michigan; Benzie County; Traverse City; Leelanau (231) 383-5156

Reviewed on 10/16/2017 Amber N

The food was everything and more! I could not have been more pleased with the cuisine, as well as the sincere, and thorough staff. My husband and I are big 'foodies', and the moment we entered our reception, it was some of the first comments we were receiving. Utterly grateful... Read More my husband found this company as they exceeded our expectations.

Reviewed on 2/21/2017 AJ F

Jim and the Crystal Lake Catering team are exceptional! They are friendly, professional, very communicative, flexible (between our guests and the weather, we threw them some curveballs), and an absolute joy to work with. The food was amazing - my husband and I knew we wanted... Read More to prioritize the food for our wedding and were in good hands. Almost everything was kept seasonal and local and was cooked to perfection - to this day, people rave about the pork and the ratatouille they made! In addition to helping us craft a delicious menu, it was super helpful that they knew our venue (the Elberta Life Saving Station). They were able to help us with the layout of tables and set up ahead of time. The day of, they were able to make the necessary changes to accomodate pouring rain (all seamlessly and without stress). We would recommend them for any event with our whole heart.

Reviewed on 8/16/2016 Suzy C

Jim was excellent to work with. He was attentive and really worked with me to stay within my budget. I had a ton of questions to which he answered immediately. The food was delicious and his staff went out of their way to make sure I got to try all the appetizers when I missed... Read More the cocktail hour due to picture taking. I thought that was so sweet. By the way, his tacos are THE BOMB!!!

Reviewed on 11/09/2015 Alison S

Very thorough and happy to communicate regularly with out-of-town bride and groom to alleviate our concerns and work with our budget and schedule. Food was delicious and reasonably priced! We'd do it all over again with Crystal Lake Catering and Jim Barnes in a heartbeat.... Read More Thanks!

Reviewed on 10/17/2015

We had our wedding catered by Jim. Overall the food was very delicious! Our complaints come from his inability to maintain contact with clients and right his wrongs. Multiple issues arose during our wedding of which we wrote him to state our dissatisfaction. Each one he stated... Read More it was his fault for either misleading us or forgetting to omit things from our contract. After admitting fault, he has refused to refund any of the money that was paid for things not included from the contract. If you are looking for great food and little customer service, Crystal Lake Catering is the place to book. We would never recommend them because of their lack of understanding after the event and lack of communication during planning.

2015-11-07T10:53:31 Response from the vendor

Good morning Lynda, I am happy to hear that your guests enjoyed the food. I am sorry to hear that we provided poor customer service. In this industry, food is just a small part of the big picture. I am committed to customer satisfaction. I... Read Less Read More

Very Disappointed

Reviewed on 7/13/2015 Cassie J

We ultimately did not use this catering because he was incredibly unprofessional. My husband and I met with him back in October for a "consultation." We met at a restaurant, not his, in the area and we paid for his meal. During our meeting, we explained our budget and he... Read More agreed he would be able to stay under it. He took many notes during the meeting, so I was very surprised a few days later when we received his quote which was double our budget! Feeling frustrated, I went through the quote and found that he included bartenders, glassware, etc all things we had told him we did not need. I emailed him back asking him if those things would lower our cost or if there was another menu option we could consider. His reply was to seek another vendor that always "surprised him with his low costs." I did not even bother responding. We ultimately did go with another vendor but were very disappointed in our experience. Especially the time wasted! My husband was also very disgusted in the owner's demeanor during the meeting, constantly snorting and touching face. Also, since we live in the area and are not tourists (as many are), we will never consider using company for our future events and would strong urge others to avoid this company.

2015-10-31T21:09:03 Response from the vendor

Thank you for your review. Even though it comes eight months after our meeting, I appreciate the opportunity to learn from all of my interactions with brides and grooms. I am sorry to have offended you so. I hope that your June 20, 2015 wedding... Read Less Read More

Crystal Lake Catering

Reviewed on 2/10/2015

We couldn't be happier with our experience with Crystal Lake Catering. From the first meeting until after the wedding things went perfectly. Jim Barnes was very helpful in helping us choose a menu that would fit our reception and guests best. It was easy to get a hold of Jim... Read More and he was very accommodating to all of our needs. It made planning a breeze to know that Jim and his crew were taking care of set up as well as the food. The food was amazing, the set up was perfect and the staff were personable and helpful. Our guests continue to comment on how delicious the food was and how well they were taken care of by the waitstaff. Our experience with Crystal Lake Catering couldn't have been more perfect, from beginning to end.

Beautiful and delicious food with great service

Reviewed on 1/05/2015 Kerri C

We hired Crystal Lake Catering to cater our August 2014 wedding in Elberta, MI. While the location was the most important part of our wedding to us, the food was a close second. We wanted to treat our family and friends to our favorite place in the world and some of our... Read More favorite foods from the area. Jim helped make sure this happened. He was a big help in planning our menu. We especially appreciated the attention to detail and his work fulfilling our requests to have the food reflect Northern Michigan dining and be sourced as locally as possible. The day of, Jim delivered delicious food to our party of 60. The appetizers were wonderful and appropriately proportioned (no dealing with unwieldy finger-foods). Every entree (fish, filet, and mushroom pasta) was very good and plated beautifully. His staff was also top notch. The servers were incredibly helpful and polite, and the bartender kept the drinks flowing to our very thirsty crowd. Thanks for helping make our wedding perfect!


Reviewed on 1/04/2015 Erika F

The food was excellent and the service great! They were very easy to work with and fun. I would highly recommend.

So Helpful, So Delicious

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 Alex M

Crystal Lake Catering was AMAZING. First, from the beginning of our planning we knew we really wanted to serve tacos, and Mexican is on their list of regular offerings. We'd heard the food at Elberto's Taqueria (a related business) was excellent, so it seemed like a good... Read More place to start. They were well within our budget and offered all the services we needed- food, serving staff, bartender, plates, cups, cutlery, linens. Everything was wonderful. We didn't have a wedding planner, so we were sort of waffling our way through the planning and set-up process. The staff here was super helpful. I'm terrible with spacial stuff and they helped us sort out where to put hor d'oeuvres, the bar, and the buffet. They also helped us be really clear about timing on everything. Overall, they were easy to get a hold of and quick to answer our questions via phone and email. The plates and forks they provided looked awesome- wood-y, and so they matched our woodcut centerpieces. The food tasted great! We had so many compliments on it. It was really unique (though with familiar enough elements that no one picky left hungry) and really yummy. The serving staff was very friendly and very patient with us. All in all, this was a ~great choice for us, worked perfectly with our wedding, as I'd imagine it would with most!

20+ years of experience and it shows!

Reviewed on 11/24/2014 Julie P

Our Day went perfectly. Jim's knowledge of the area, planning skills and attention to detail were a huge help to us. Our day went flawlessly and his staff was very helpful and courteous. The food was delicious, friends and family are still talking about it!