MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Robert “Lunchbox” McRae, the owner of Peoples on Beale, died Sept. 1 after what his family describes as ongoing health issues. He was 38.
McRae worked at various businesses on Beale Street over the course of 15 years, 10 of which were spent at Peoples. In 2015, he had the opportunity to buy Peoples and brought his brother on as a co-owner.
“It was always a dream, but he never thought it would really happen,” said Michael McRae.
During Robert McRae’s ownership, his friends say Peoples served as a gathering place for workers at other Beale Street businesses.
“If you were an employee on Beale, I mean, he showed you love,” said longtime friend Andrew Westmoreland.
“He left this Earth on 901 Day and I felt like that means a lot with what the city lost,” said Michael McRae.
He friends are planning a procession down Beale Street in honor of his brother. It will start Saturday at 2 p.m. at the corner of Second and Beale.
McRae was the first of two recent deaths of Beale Street club owners. Tommy Peters, who founded BB King’s Blues Club, died from kidney failure at the age of 66 on Sunday.