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Mix it yourself

Luna Park, a Los Angeles restaurant known for its whimsical decor and funky menu, is enticing new customers with the retro kitsch appeal of its "You're a Pepper" cocktail. The unique mix-it-yourself format, gives customers an 8-oz. bottle of the original Dublin's Dr. Pepper (think 1950s soda shop), to mix with two sidecars—Absolut Vanilla and Monin's organic vanilla syrup, all served on a silver tray colorfully accompanied by a handful of Dr. Pepper-flavored Jelly Bellies.

The cocktail's novelty is receiving significant buzz, and has become Luna Park's second best selling specialty drink, listed on both the bar and dessert menu.

Since specialty cocktails contribute 15% to Luna Park's total sales, owner AJ Gilbert believes in keeping the bar menu fresh and interesting. "We introduce a new cocktail every few months," says Gilbert. "We offer six to eight specialty cocktails, but we keep it focused so bartenders can make it well and customers can easily make their selection."

Gilbert knows his customers appreciate the kind of creativity offered in his restaurant. "People like items that have conversational value," says Gilbert. "I try to do stuff that is rooted in something while at the same time offering appeal and innovation."

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