I'm running an event for a large group of high school students at the Walnut Creek Marriott in mid-February. On the Thursday night I need to take everyone (60 students and around 40 adult coaches) out to dinner. Staying in Walnut Creek would be easiest, especially if we need to shuttle folks to the restaurant. If we cannot come up with a good option in Walnut Creek, we could drive as far as Oakland or Berkeley.
Because our guests are coming from all over the country, I'd prefer to take them someplace that is not a chain and that have some local flavor. My budget is, not surprisingly, limited. Given the budget, I think Chinese, Mexican, or burgers would be the best bets. Regardless, there must be decent options for vegetarians. I, not too surprisingly, would prefer food that actually tastes good.