Our Story

The St. James Tearoom sprang up out of the recognition of a great need in society today:  the need to escape the “Tyranny of the Urgent” of our modern day frenetic pace of life, to depart from the “parched landscape of fluorescent lighting and chain- restaurant sameness” (Charlotte Balcomb Lane article on The St. James Tearoom, 2000) to rest, reflect, gain margin back into life, and above all, foster relationships in a society that at best creates shallow ones.

Escape the tyranny of the urgent.

WHO we are… WHY we do what we do…
Learn the HEART and meet the Joyful Eccentrics behind it all!

The St. James Tearoom

of Albuquerque, NM

Mary Alice Higbie began thinking how this need could be met long before the tearoom first opened in 1999, and she settled upon using the medium of the British tradition of tea she had practiced all her life, a tradition specifically designed to foster reflection and relationships, to slow down and savor life itself. A classically trained Japanese porcelain artist, china painter, and expert gardener, Mary Alice approached the creation of her tearoom with a trained artist’s eye, understanding that the quality and excellence of the experience would have to be unparalleled in Albuquerque for the tradition of tea to catch on.

The St James Tearoom - Afternoon Tea Service

In short order she solicited the aid of her son, Daniel, and after a flurry of activity, the tearoom was established in December of 1999, as a tiny (27 seat) tea service establishment just north of Olde Towne Albuquerque, with 3 employees. Within six months a rating of four stars was awarded to the tearoom by the chief food editor of the Albuquerque Journal at that time, Charlotte Balcomb Lane; (her initial review is included in the Reviews section).

What followed were years of blood, sweat, and tears as business lessons were learned, growth progressed slowly but surely, and the process itself was refined and refined yet again, always constantly reevaluated to squeeze every last possible drop of excellence out of the experience.

“Be transported to a different time and place.”

The St James Tearoom - High TeaThree separate expansions later, The St. James Tearoom today is far different than the original, housed in a building custom designed and built to maximize the guests’ feeling of being “transported to a different time and place.”  The Higbies and the St. James staff invite you to come away to a quiet place and enjoy an exceptional afternoon tea.


The St. James Tearoom has been featured in The Great Tearooms of America by Bruce Richardson and CNN’s Five Great American Tearooms, and has been the subject of articles in Tea Magazine, the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network News, and many others.

The Purpose of The St. James Tearoom…

Meet the Owners!

The Vision & Heart of the Tearoom

Mary Alice Higbie
Owner, Founder

Mary Alice Higbie opened The St. James Tearom in December of 1999, after traveling to England to study British teas and to search for vendors. She is certified as a Licensed Tea Consultant by The Protocol School of Washington, in Washington D.C., and has lectured to large and small groups on The Art and the Etiquette of Tea. She is also a Japanese Porcelain Artist, and designed, planted, and maintained an extensive, private, English Cottage Garden that was the subject of numerous paintings by well-known local artists.

Daniel Higbie
Owner, CEO

Daniel Higbie graduated from Hillsdale College in 1998 with an interdisciplinary bachelors in Classical Rhetoric & Persuasive Communication. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a Master of Arts in International Relations and Global Markets. He was an exchange student at Oxford University, and was an Investment Analyst and Strategy Consultant before coming to Albuquerque to assist with the launch of The St. James Tearoom.

Employee of the Month

Celebrating those who go above and beyond!

November 2017 – China

Our guests are largely responsible for China being our November Employee of the Month; their surveys continually praise her by name. Her gentle and observant manner truly shines with guests and coworkers alike. China is one of our most consistent Servers, and her reliability and communication skills make her a wonderful addition to her team. […]

October 2017 – Shannon

Shannon, recognized as one of our September Superheroes, was chosen Employee of the Month for October 2017. In her dual role as a Server and Reservationist, she excelled in keeping a fabulous attitude during the greatest September our Tearoom has had in seventeen years. “Recipes from the Wizarding World,” an employee-driven menu theme, brought a […]

Matthew - Employee of the Month September 2017

September 2017 – Matthew

Matthew, our September 2017 Employee of the Month, is relatively new to our Tearoom family, so being chosen by his peers to represent them underscores how well he fits in here. As a Server, Matthew has a spirit of excellence that has revealed itself in his attention to detail and efficiency. He excels at vacuuming, […]

Chris - Employee of the Month August 2017

August 2017 – Chris

August Employee of the Month, Chris, our gentleman in the Market, has such a relaxed demeanor you would never know just how hard he works except for the fact that he gets his tasks done before you know it. He is able and super willing to help out wherever he can: in the tea station […]

Rachel - Employee of the Month July 2017

July 2017 – Rachel

Last month we got to congratulate Rachel on her recent high school graduation. This month we get to congratulate her for being chosen as Employee of the Month! Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to be served by Rachel knows just how sweet and friendly she is in her quiet, attentive, and gentle ways; […]

Isaiah - Employee of the Month June 2017

June 2017 – Isaiah

Isaiah, our Employee of the Month for June 2017 has only been with The St. James Tearoom since November, but in that time, he has endeared himself to his coworkers with his jolly nature and large heart! Isaiah works in the dish station as an Expeditor; serving tea is a bustling business and our Expeditors […]

Eric - Employee of the Month April 2017

April 2017 – Eric

Eric has been a wonderful blessing here at The St. James Tearoom for seven years now. He started working with us in the dishwashing station, and we have had the privilege of watching him grow into a member of our leadership team, managing the kitchen and serving as a chef who produces beautiful and yummy […]

Jeanine - Employee of the Month March 2017

March 2017 – Jeanine

Our phones are ringing off the hook! Our Employee of Month Jeanine answers and calm prevails. Jeanine has worked at The St. James Tearoom for 12 years and knows many of our guests by their phone voice. She is the anchor in a sometimes stormy sea of reservations, a master juggler of numbers, placing our […]

Sarah - Employee of the Month February 2017

February 2017 – Sarah

Sarah has been chosen by her co-workers as our February Employee of the Month, which is very appropriate as she is obviously filled with LOVE. A love that she so winningly pours out upon those she works with in our Dish Station, a very important position that serves each and every one of us. Our […]

Mary - Employee of the Month January 2017

January 2017 – Mary

This month’s Employee of the Month is our lovely server, Mary!  Mary has been working at the Tearoom for almost a year and has become such an important part of our service team and our Tearoom family.  Those that nominated her for Employee of the Month described her as “kind hearted, others focused, the definition […]

Become Part of Our Story!

Employment at The St. James

Choose a Position...

Expeditor / Dishwasher
Kitchen Team Member
Market Attendant / Greeter

Part-time and full-time positions.


Completed applications may be turned in at our front desk, or mailed to:

The St. James Tearoom
Human Resources
320 Osuna NE, Bldg. D
Albuquerque, NM 87107

We welcome your application and thank you for your interest in The St. James Tearoom.