For a long time Baywolf was the best restaurant in Oakland. People were visiting from out of town, I took them to Baywolf.  The people who owned Baywolf recently retired, and Rich and Rebekah Wood, who own the fabulous Wood Tavern on College Avenue, took over Baywolf and renamed it The Wolf. It opened recently.

Sunday night, I went there with my wife Dawn, Susan Slusser the A-plus writer who covers the A’s for the Chronicle and her husband Dan Brown, the A-plus sportswriter for the Mercury News.

We felt a special connection to the place because A’s manager Bob Melvin has an ownership share in The Wolf. I’ll get back to Bob in a moment.

I am not a restaurant critic so bear with me here. But The Wolf is as good as Baywolf and more up to date. My wife, who has the highest standards, is in love with the place. All four of us are. I had steak. She had duck. Dan and Susan had cod. All terrific. Service was exemplary. Co-owner Rich Wood kept visiting with us and pouring wine.

You have a special occasion, go to The Wolf. Tell them Lowell sent you. No, don’t.

Now back to Bob Melvin. I have known him forever. Remember, he played for the Giants when I was a young man. And I like Bob — he’s one of my all-time favorites. Last year, he and I had dinner at Wood Tavern. Just two guys out for the night. And, yes, I did have dinner with certain sports figures over the years — Bob, Bill Walsh, Frank Robinson, Ken Korach, Jeffrey Leonard, Ken Macha, Art Howe, Marty Lurie (a million times), Vince Cotroneo, Chris Mullin. I never had dinner with Jim Harbaugh but I want to. My treat.

So Bob and I were at Wood Tavern last year and Rich Wood was with us and we were drinking a great Italian red and Rich said he wasn’t sure what to name his new place. I said, “Call it The Wolf as an homage to Baywolf.” And sure enough he named it The Wolf. Susan Slusser was skeptical about my story, but when our meal at The Wolf ended, Rich, God love him, handed me a card he had signed. On it he wrote, “Naming rights.”

I feel honored.