Steakhouse chain operator Fogo de Chao sizzles in debut

Fogo de Chao CEO Lawrence Johnson said Friday that he is "very pleased" with his company's trading debut. (Tweet This)

"I knew this was going to be a winner in the U.S.," he said in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Shares of the Brazilian steakhouse chain operator rose as much as 32.7 percent on their first day of trading, valuing the company at about $723.6 million. The stock hit a high of $26.55, well above the $20 price of its initial public offering.

There are currently 26 stores in the U.S. and Johnson said the company plans to open another 100 over the long term.

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Johnson brought Fogo de Chao to the U.S. in 1996 after spending years living and working in Brazil. Revenue in 2014 was $262 million, up 20 percent from the previous year.

The chain specializes in fire-roasting meat utilizing the centuries-old southern Brazilian cooking technique of "churrasco."

—Reuters contributed to this report.