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!

December 2018 – Sarah

We are excited to honor Sarah as December’s Employee of the Month! Sarah has been part of The St. James Family since August of 2016 as first an Expeditor / Dishwasher before becoming a Server. Sarah is a wonderful example of the St. James Aspirations of Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence. She strives to […]

November 2018 – Denise

We are overjoyed to honor Denise as November’s Employee of the Month! Denise has been part of the St. James family as a Server since September 2013. After five years, you might call Denise a St. James staple. Her experience and passion for the Tearoom brings stability to her team. Along with leading and teaching […]

October 2018 – Marisa

We are so pleased to present Marisa as October’s Employee of the Month! Marisa has been with the St. James family since May of this year as an Expeditor / Dishwasher. We are so honored to have Marisa’s hard work and Servant’s Heart here at the Tearoom. While she is a great example of all […]

September 2018 – Isaac

This month, we are honoring Isaac as September’s Employee of the Month! Isaac has been with the St. James family since June of 2017 as an Expeditor Dishwasher. During his time here, Isaac has grown and flourished as a leader in the dish station. Though washing dishes is not always seen as the most glamorous […]

August 2018 – Erin

For August, we are pleased to honor Erin as Employee of the Month! Erin has been with The St. James since November of 2017 as both a Server and a Reservationist. Erin is a true example of a Servant’s Heart. She is recognized as one who is constantly striving to help others in all that […]

July 2018 – Danae

We are pleased to introduce Danae as July’s Employee of the Month! Danae has been with The St. James since May of 2016 as one of our wonderful servers. Danae is one of the most cheerful and joyful people we know. She has a great attitude that is always uplifting, encouraging, and brings a smile […]

June 2018 – Stephanie

We are overjoyed to honor Stephanie as June’s Employee of the Month! Stephanie has been with The St. James since November of 2017 as one of our lovely Market Attendants. Stephanie is a wonderful example of all our St. James Aspirations. Through Grace, she constantly gives of herself to others, always choosing kindness and love. […]

May 2018 – Sarah

We are excited to honor Sarah as May’s Employee of the Month! Sarah has been part of The St. James family since August of 2016 as both a Dishwasher/Expeditor and a Server, and we obviously love having her as this is her second nomination for Employee of the Month! Sarah is a beautiful example of […]

April 2018 – Chasya

We are excited to honor Chasya as our Employee of the Month for April. She has been part of the St. James family since August of 2015, making delicious goodies in our kitchen! Chasya is a great steward of our St. James Aspirations of Grace, Civility, and Excellence. She works hard to create beautiful food […]

March 2018 – Victoria

We are excited to honor Victoria as our Employee of the Month for March. Victoria can be found as one of our beloved Servers here at The St. James Tearoom. We are also so honored to have her as part of the St. James family for six years now! Victoria (or Tori, as she is […]

Employee of the Month - January 2018 - Christina

January 2018 – Christina

Christina truly excels as a member of our Market Team. She loves greeting and interacting with guests that come to have tea or shop, often welcoming them by name. Her gentle spirit and gracious manner of speech put people at ease, enhancing the feeling of sanctuary The St. James Tearoom offers. A hard worker, quick […]

Become Part of Our Story!

Employment at The St. James

Choose a Position...

Expeditor / Dishwasher
Kitchen Team Member
Market Attendant / Greeter

Part-time positions.

We are currently looking for Seasonal Kitchen Team Members! Apply by November 25th, 2018 for best consideration.


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