ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Sonny’s Place, offering Southern-style cuisine, opened Wednesday in the former Mary’s Market at Edgebrook Shopping Center on N. Alpine Road.

The restaurant is run by the Awaken Foundation, a non-profit that gives students the chance to gain restaurant experience.

Pre-apprentices can learn basic skills, or students can go through the full, 2,000-hour year-and-a-half apprenticeship program to earn a certification from the American Culinary Federation.

The restaurant menu offers collard greens, shrimp, grits, chicken and waffles, and more.

“What stands out more off of our menu is a variety of what the students have collaborated to put together, that they can get all their skills in one setting,” said Jurea Crudup. “So, it has been changing a couple of times, just so the students can get their hands-on training.”