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 Tearoom 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!

St. James Tearoom January Employee of the Month: Alysse

January 2020 – Alysse

Starting off the new year, we are honored to present Alysse as our Employee of the Month! Alysse has been a Server at The St. James Tearoom since August of 2019. Though her time here has been short, Alysse has made a big impact on her team. Fellow coworkers describe her as consistent and reliable. […]

December 2019 – Victoria

This December, we are honoring Victoria as our Employee of the Month! Victoria has been a Server with the Tearoom since February of 2012. And recently, she has been helping out as one of our Large Party Coordinators. In her almost eight years of Tearoom knowledge and wisdom, Victoria shines as a beautiful servant leader. […]

November 2019 – Susan

We are blessed to honor Susan as our Employee of the Month this November. Susan has been with the Tearoom since January of 2014 as a Server, Reservationist, and Large Party Coordinator.
Susan is one who instinctively sees when another has a need and finds a way to serve them. As an example, she started […]

Employee of the Month September 2019: Adrianna

September 2019 – Adrianna

We are overjoyed to be honoring Adrianna as our Employee of the Month this September. Adrianna has been with the Tearoom since December of 2015 in every capacity she can find! She has served our guests as a Server, Market Attendant, and Shift Leader. Behind the scenes, she diligently cleans the Tearoom every week, makes […]

August 2019 – Chloe

This August, we are honoring Chloe-Joy as our Employee of the Month! Chloe has been with The St. James Tearoom as a Server since March of 2018. During her time with us, she has been a constant presence of grace and cheerfulness. Chloe remains ever positive and kind to those around her. Her quiet sense […]

July 2019 – Joaquin

We are pleased to honor Joaquin as July’s Employee of the Month! Joaquin has been with The St. James Tearoom since August of 2018 as one of our Servers. During his time here, he has had such an influence of dependability, knowledge, and humor! Without any need for recognition, Joaquin is consistent in seeing a […]

June 2019 – Kendra

We are overjoyed to honor Kendra as June’s Employee of the Month! Kendra has been with The St. James since August 2018 as one of our lovely Market Attendants. Kendra’s presence can be described in a word: generous. She is generous with her time by covering shifts as much as she possibly can, and making […]

May 2019 – Emily

This May, we are celebrating Emily as our Employee of the Month! Emily has served her team and our guests as a Market Attendant since April of 2018. Though Emily has only been part of the Tearoom family for a little over a year, she has quickly become a valuable leader with her quiet strength. […]

April 2019 – Halla

This month we are excited to honor Halla as our Employee of the Month. Halla has been part of the team since November 2017 as a Server. The Tearoom always gets a little bit brighter when Halla is on shift. She sees the best in others and is gracious with her time and energy. When […]

Become Part of Our Story!

Employment at The St. James

Choose a Position...

Expeditor / Dishwasher
Kitchen Team Member
Market Attendant / Greeter

Part-time positions.


Completed applications may be turned in at our front desk,
emailed to humanresources@stjamestearoom.com,
or mailed to:

The St. James Tearoom
Attn: Hiring Manager
320 Osuna NE, Bldg. D
Albuquerque, NM 87107

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