SELIGMAN - The regulars of Westside Lilo's Café on Route 66 in Seligman may see a new set of faces behind the counter in the next few weeks. Lilo Russell, the owner of the restaurant, and part of her family are switching places with a German family of restaurateurs for more than a week. The swap is part of a German TV show "Switched" that seeks out people with German roots in other countries and asks them to swap lives with a family in Germany who operate a similar business for two weeks.
"We're really excited. They won't tell us where we're going. All we know is that it is somewhere near Stuttgart. They've told us not to bother trying to look it up on the internet," said Nancy Echeverria, one of Lilo's daughters who will be making the trip.
The Russells will meet the German family who will be taking their place a few days before they leave for Germany in order to show them the ropes. Then Lilo, Echeverria, another daughter and her son will fly to Germany to take over the German family's restaurant near Stuttgart in southern Germany. TV crews will film both families as they work.
Echeverria said her mother received an email a few months ago from the German TV show. The family was one of 10 German families in the U.S. that were contacted to participate in the show, she said.
Echeverria and her mom don't expect any to run into too many snags cooking traditional German foods. Lilo's is as well known for its bratwurst, schnitzel, roladen, sauerbraten and goulash as its American strawberry tortes, famous carrot cake, and signature cinnamon rolls.
"We were actually the show's second pick because we were a little too German," Echeverria said. Nearly all of the family speaks German fluently, she said.
Lilo was born in Germany, married Echeverria's father, who was serving in the U.S. Army and came to the U.S. in 1962. She flew to Germany at least once a year to visit her parents until they passed away and still flies back every few years to visit friends, she said. She has owned and operated the restaurant, with the help of her daughters, since it opened in June 1996.
When a family in Oklahoma bowed out, the show offered the spot to the Russells.
The show will be broadcast in Germany sometime next year.