Department Store Tea Rooms Still Exist

We’ve just revisited Lenox Mall’s Neiman Marcus Cafe, where you’ll find the most affordable afternoon tea in Atlanta’s Buckhead area. The teas and homemade treats are still delicious, and very filling, as two signature appetizers hit the table even before tea is poured. We also like the ease of reserving your afternoon tea online with only a day or two notice. See how in our full review here.

afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Atlanta, GA

Of course, this isn’t the same experience you’d have had 100 years ago. Visiting a present-day department store tearoom makes us nostalgic for the opulent American department store tearooms, which had their heyday from the late 1870s through to the 1960s, by which time most had closed. As pictured below, you can see that these original tea salons were all elegance and refinement, a popular social scene where women and young ladies would dress their best and treat themselves to a special lunch. Only a few remaining department store tearooms today offer a lunch menu as well as an afternoon tea menu.

postcard of early American department store tearoom, Wanamaker's Grand Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, PA
This postcard depicts one of American’s first department store tearooms: Wanamaker’s Grand Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia.

If you love learning about historical architecture, the glamour of the early 20th century department store, and vintage recipes, delve into Angela Webster McRae’s “Dainty Dining.” In addition to being a fellow Georgian, she is a thorough researcher, and her book includes signature recipes from department store tearooms, notably Neiman Marcus’ popovers! You can learn more by visiting her accompanying blog, where she shares more of her vintage discoveries found as she researched her book.

Dainty Dining by Angela Webster McRae
Click to purchase
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. What an absolutely delightful surprise to see my book featured on your blog! Thanks so much, Angela! (And now I need to go make some more Neiman-Marcus popovers …)

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the photos you gathered and definitely need to pin some of your recipes into a future Themed Tea Party Guide. I was also so happy to find the blog that accompanied the book!

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