From 1885 the Pagone family had been pastry-cooks in Catania, Sicily. During the 1930s Salvatore and Maria Pagone and their two young daughters Concetta and Sebastiana moved to Asmara, Eritrea. In December 1953 the family migrated to Australia, sailing from the port of Aden in North Africa, on the ship Anna Salen. The family settled in Melbourne and had two more children, Gaetano and Elizabeth.
In about 1955 they opened a pastry shop at 284 Victoria Street, North Melbourne. It was the first of its kind, combining a café which served food, a pizzeria (pizza shop) and a pasticceria (cake shop). The Pagone family made and sold traditional Sicilian pastry products, including: gelati, Sicilian cassata and torrone ice-cream; a variety of torrone, amaretti, cannoli and sponge biscuits (cakes made of almond meal); cakes for weddings, baptisms and christenings; and traditional Italian bomboniere.
In about 1959 the Pagone family also opened a shop in nearby Errol Street, North Melbourne from which they sold home-made Easter eggs and the Panettone Pagone. Both shops became well known amongst Italian and other southern European communities. The Pagone wedding cakes were particularly well known and the shops could supply cakes for up to 1200 guests. Salvatore regularly bought pastry moulds and ingredients from Italy. Both businesses operated until 1963.